Raikkonen on top after F1 teams test wet tires in Barcelona

 02 Mar 2017 - 16:17

Raikkonen on top after F1 teams test wet tires in Barcelona
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in action. REUTERS/Albert Gea

AP

BARCELONA, Spain: With Lewis Hamilton out of action because of a mechanical issue, Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari back on top on in Formula One's preseason testing on Thursday.

After teams tested wet tires on the artificially-soaked track outside Barcelona, Raikkonen switched to slicks late in the morning session to top the timesheet with a lap of 1 minute, 22.305 seconds at Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya.

Ferrari has been the only team running close to Mercedes so far as teams test the bigger and faster cars ahead of the 2017 season.

Hamilton was not able to run because of an electrical problem with his Mercedes.

"Electrical fault kept us in the garage this morning, so I've decided with the team not to drive today as I wouldn't have learned much," Hamilton wrote on Twitter. "Shame not to drive but it's been a great few days. The guys have done an awesome job. Can't wait to be back in the car next week!"

Valtteri Bottas eventually made it to the track after Mercedes fixed the problem, but he could only run nine laps before the morning session ended.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was among the fastest on the wet track.

Tire supplier Pirelli soaked the track's surface overnight with the help of eight water tanks, allowing teams to test this season's wider tires on the wet.

New rules introduced in 2017 to bring more excitement to the series gave cars more grip and downforce, making them significantly faster than in previous years.

Felipe Massa was unable to run after Williams said it discovered chassis damage after 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll crashed into a barrier on Wednesday. The team said a second chassis would be prepared for next week's four-day session.