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Fer­rari tops timesheets in F1 test­ing, plus lat­est news

FER­RARI showed strong form as eight days of pre-sea­son test­ing for the 2017 For­mula One sea­son con­cluded last week.

Kimi Raikko­nen’s best lap of 1:18.634 on Fri­day morn­ing was the fastest set in test­ing up to that point and Fer­rari also en­joyed good re­li­a­bil­ity and long-run pace.

Raikko­nen’s team-mate Se­bas­tian Vet­tel was cau­tious about the team’s prospects, how­ever, say­ing: “The car is much bet­ter than last year be­cause the na­ture of the for­mula has changed, but it’s early days.”

He con­tin­ued: “If you look at the amount of laps Mercedes has done, if you look how slow they go in the test­ing, how much they are able to ramp it up for the races... it’s clear. They’re very fast if you look at their long-run pace. They’re the ones to beat.”

After a strong start, Mercedes fal­tered some­what, with some de­vel­op­ment parts not work­ing as hoped. “We have had so many dif­fer­ent up­grades and some of them haven’t been per­fect,” said Val­terri Bot­tas.

“Some have been over­per­form­ing, some have been maybe slightly un­der­per­form­ing. But I’m con­fi­dent we’ll find most out of the pack­age and it’ll be as good as planned.”

Red Bull also looked com­pet­i­tive as a clear gap emerged be­tween the top three and the rest of the field. But the Mil­ton Keynes squad was ham­pered by Re­nault en­gine is­sues, which also af­fected Toro Rosso and the Re­nault works out­fit. Else­where, Mclaren-honda’s en­gine woes from the first test con­tin­ued. A frus­trated Fer­nando Alonso told the press: “We have one prob­lem: the power unit. There’s no re­li­a­bil­ity and no power. We’re 30km/h down on the straight, so it’s dif­fi­cult to have a feel­ing on the car.”

Mclaren team boss Eric Boul­lier said the re­la­tion­ship with Honda was now at “max­i­mum strain”. It was also re­vealed that Honda has parted com­pany with con­sul­tant Gilles Si­mon, who pre­vi­ously worked on Fer­rari’s en­gines in the years of Michael Schu­macher’s dom­i­nance.

Vet­tel and Raikko­nen fast Alonso slams Honda en­gine

■ FRUS­TRATED Dou­ble cham­pion Alonso (right) says Mclaren’s Honda en­gine has “no re­li­a­bil­ity and no power”

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