Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen set blistering pace on the final day of winter testing at the Barcelona Circuit Du Catalunya on Friday ahead of the first race of the 2017 Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix in just over two weeks.
The Iceman set a fastest time of 01:18.634s and speaking following the test, the 2007 world champion commented by saying:
There’s a good feeling with this car and that’s the most important thing. We have been reliable for almost all of these days of testing and that is another good sign of the great work the team has done over the winter. We are starting from a stronger base than last year: but it’s really too early to say how fast the car is compared to the others. Perhaps even Melbourne won’t give a 100 per cent precise picture of the situation, because the first race is always a bit unusual. We might have to wait until China. Either way I’d like to thank everyone in the team, because they have always managed to step in and sort out all the small problems that testing is supposed to resolve.
On Friday it was announced that former Ferrari driver and the only driver to win the championship on both two and four wheels John Surtees has passed away at the age of 83 and upon hearing the news, Kimi said:
I met him a few times, he was very easy-going and it was very easy to get on with him. And you could tell that he had passion for racing in his blood. So this is sad news and my thoughts are with his family.
Surtess won the championship for Ferrari in 1964. The tam released the following statement following the news of Surtess death:
Ferrari has lost one of its greatest drivers. John Surtees has passed away in his native England at the age of 83. Born in Tatsfield on February 11 1934, Big John, as he was fondly known, won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1964 with Ferrari, becoming the only driver in history to claim both the F1 and motorcycle grand prix world titles. Surtees raced in 111 Formula 1 Grand Prix, 30 with the Scuderia Ferrari, delivering six victories, four of which were with the Maranello team between 1963 and 1966. Aside from his outstanding Formula 1 performance, Surtees contributed several victories to Ferrari’s success in the 1963 and 1965 World Sportscar Championship. All at Ferrari send their heartfelt condolences to his family at this sad time.