Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is pleased with the way the team’s two-week pre-season test in Barcelona went and says the team is performing much better this year than it was during the same period in 2016.
“If you compare to a year ago we are much much better in many ways,” the famously blunt Fin said following the conclusion of the test last Thursday. “But where are we going to be in the first race? I have no idea. It’s the same story every winter and we will see in a few weeks.”
It might seem as though Raikkonen is simply trying to stay humble in saying he isn’t sure where Ferrari will end up in the race, but it’s the truth. The team also led the test in 2016 based on raw pace, and as you probably know were behind Mercedes by Melbourne and eventually fell behind Red Bull, too. It’s much too early to say whether Ferrari has an advantage over Mercedes and Red Bull, but early reports indicate the SF70H is a well sorted car that instills confidence in both Raikkonen and Sebastien Vettel. It’s also been mighty reliable – Ferrari used just one engine for the whole first week of testing.
“I think everything was more or less pretty positive,” Raikkonen said. “The car has been running well and the feeling since the first day has been pretty good for both drivers. I think the team has done a good job over the winter, preparing the car and making it reliable.”
The good news keeps on coming, too. Raikkonen set the fastest lap during the two-week test (1:18.634) and he says they could have went even faster if they wanted. The next fastest driver in testing was Vettel (1:19.024) followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (1:19.310) and Valteri Bottas (1:19.352). Vettel also managed the second most amount of distance in the test (2,7151 km) behind Bottas (2,923 km).
“No, for sure we can go faster but that is not the purpose of this thing [testing],” Raikkonen said. “Obviously you try to go as fast as you can whatever you decide to do, but there are a lot of things looking at it afterwards where we can improve and do better, but that is part of testing.”