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Raikkonen tops time-sheets in F1 testing

Associated Press logo Associated Press 28/02/2017

The iceman cometh.

Kimi Raikkonen has edged Lewis Hamilton for the fastest time in pre-season F1 testing on Tuesday, a sign that the sport could be regaining its competitive edge.

Raikkonen pushed his Ferrari through a flying lap of 1 minute, 20.960 seconds on day two of tests at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya.

While the Finn barely beat Hamilton's earlier effort by a scant 0.023 seconds, he did so using a slower type of tyre, made for greater durability over outright speed.

His good performance came after Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had mustered the second-fastest time to Hamilton on Monday.

While Daniel Ricciardo had the day off and featured in a team Twitter video that indicated he didn't exactly miss teammate Max Verstappen in the off-season, Verstappen put together the day's third-fastest time.

The Dutch teenager was still over one second off the pace of Raikkonen and Hamilton though.

Raikkonen's lap was almost two seconds faster than his own pre-season-leading effort from last year's eight days of testing on the same track.

While Hamilton focussed on speed, new teammate Valtteri Bottas repeated his strategy from Monday of getting in as many laps as possible in a race simulation, complete with pit stop practice for the Mercedes crew and tallied 102 laps in only four hours.

McLaren, by contrast, took another step back after more trouble with its Honda motor.

Stoffel Vandoorne, who has replaced Jenson Button this season, spent more time waiting for his engineers to replace a power unit than driving. That setback came after Fernando Alonso lost most of the opening session because of a problem with the oil system.

Three of the more modest teams also struggled to get their cars rolling.

Williams' 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll had a short first stint in the driver's seat. The Canadian youngster spun off the course and into the gravel, causing damage that knocked the Williams out of action after just 12 laps.

"I need to do a lot more running before I know exactly where I am and where the car is at," Stroll said.

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