Kimi Raikkonen may have ended up quickest of the three drivers present on day two of the second week of pre-season Formula 1 testing around the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, but the Finn endured a troubled day, as KERS woes and stray dogs threatened to play havoc with proceedings in much the same way as the sandstorm did last week.
After several stints spent trying out a variety of different set-up configurations, developing new components on the Scuderia's
F60 and evaluating different Bridgestone tyre compounds, the 2007 F1 World Champion found himself grounded just over two hours' in, when a problem with the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) cooling circuit on his car forced him into his pit garage after only 40 laps – and he would remain there for more than three hours.
Amidst the frustration, the unanticipated delay did at least enable Ferrari to experiment with an emergency in case of a KERS failure, building on the analytic and safety work it has conducted over the winter months regarding the controversial energy-saving devices as it followed all the necessary procedures in a rigorous and precise manner.
However, no sooner had Raikkonen returned to the fray than he was halted again by two stray dogs, which brought out the red flags to allow for the runaway canines to be caught. Following that, the 29-year-old spent his time focussing upon race simulations – with a series of reasonably long stints on-track – pit-stops including re-fuelling and practice starts. With 107 laps on the board in all, he ended the day just over a tenth of a second clear of second-placed Jarno Trulli.
“Until today the car's development had gone well,” mused the 17-time grand prix-winner, who will hand over the wheel to team-mate Felipe Massa on Wednesday, “although we were mainly concentrating on its behaviour and the tyres. Today we had a problem with the cooling system of the KERS, but these things can happen during the tests. Anyway, we drove many laps.
“The whole car improved during these tests, but it's still too early to say where we are compared to our competitors. I think we have to wait until Melbourne for that. Today was the first time I could get close to a car in front of me, but I wasn't close enough to understand if the new aerodynamics really make overtaking easier.”
Trulli was the only one of the three drivers not to run into any kind of difficulty, as the experienced Italian made the most of the fine weather to conduct set-up, tyres and suspension work on Toyota's new TF109, getting through a mammoth 149 tours of the desert circuit before he relinquishes the cockpit to team-mate Timo Glock for the remaining two days of the test.
“This has been a very good test for us,” enthused the 34-year-old from Pescara. “I've covered well over 2,000km in three days and I feel happy with the car. It seems competitive and reliable, so a start like this gives us a solid base for the season ahead.
“There is still a lot of time before the first race and there is plenty of scope for teams to make big steps between now and Melbourne, so we will have to keep pushing hard to keep up the momentum in the factory and at the remaining tests. Still, so far so good.”