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Ferrari return to the top on Thursday

Ferrari have returned to the top of the leaderboard on Thursday with Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest lap of the test so far.

It is difficult to compare with other leading team though, with Ferrari setting the time on the new ultrasoft tyre, and was only slightly quicker than his team mate Sebastian Vettel managed a week previously.

There was also some intrigue at the very start of the day, with the team running a ‘halo’ head protection devise for the first time, which is looking to be introduced for the 2017 season. It has certainly split opinion with some praising the concept for pushing the boundaries of safety yet further and other panning it as against the principals of the sport.

While today nobody got close to the Ferrari, Williams ended the day second again, this time running the soft tyre, two steps harder than the Ferrari. They were just ahead of the Force India and Toro Rosso, both of whom were running the softer ultrasoft tyre.

Mercedes were once again not chasing lap time, again finishing in the mid-order and splitting their day with both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Neither driver completed over 100 laps, but the car is still reliable.

The order behind them though was very close with Sauber ahead of the pack, Felipe Nasr a couple of seconds off the lead on softs, Fernando Alonso on super softs, Pascal Werhlein in the Manor on ultra softs and Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull on softs were all separated by four tenths of a second.

Jolyon Palmer got some much needed running in the Renault after is disappointing start to testing last week for the team. He did 98 laps today, which is more than the running he did over two days last week.

At the bottom of the order was Romain Grosjean in the Haas. It has been a difficult couple of days for the team after a fuel system problem and then an issue with the turbo has left them with very little running. Although the car has been on track, it has been in the gravel twice, first at turn 4, and then at turn 1.

1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m22.765s 136
2 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m23.193s 0.428s 119
3 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m23.251s 0.486s 137
4 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m23.382s 0.617s 159
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.126s 1.361s 81
6 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m24.760s 1.995s 116
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m24.870s 2.105s 118
8 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m24.913s 2.148s 48
9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1m25.141s 2.376s 121
10 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m26.224s 3.459s 98
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.488s 3.723s 63
12 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m27.196s 4.431s 78

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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