Kimi Raikkonen has dominated the attention of the F1 paddock on the penultimate day of pre-season testing after topping the timesheet with the fastest lap of the winter while also debuting the 'halo' cockpit protector.

The Ferrari driver got heads turning as the track turned green on day three of the second test when he rolled out the garage with a concept halo cockpit protection unit for an installation lap. After taking off the prototype, Raikkonen lit up the timesheet at the end of the morning session on the new purple-banded ultrasoft tyres, setting a new fastest overall lap with a 1m 22.765s.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen also challenged for the top time on the ultrasofts but failed to get within four-tenths of the Ferrari driver before the lunch break.

Despite yet another day of flawless day of running Mercedes resisted the option to strap on the faster rubber and remained on mediums completing longer stints and race simulations.

New team Haas eased its reliability worries after a frustrating opening two days of the second test as Grosjean completed 98 laps but he was responsible for three red flag stoppages after spinning off track on two separate occasions at turn four before prematurely ending the day's action with a mechanical issue.

In the afternoon the majority of teams concentrated on long runs and race simulations which meant only a handful of personal lap times improved, with the most impressive being Williams as Felipe Massa jumped into second with a 1m 23.193s of the yellow soft tyres.

Sauber also enjoyed a more reliable and consistent day as Felipe Nasr finished sixth overall having notched up well over a century of laps. It was a similar story for Fernando Alonso and McLaren with 116 laps on his final day in the car before heading to Melbourne for the 2016 season opener.

Manor Racing were the slowest to make progress on the penultimate day as Pascal Wehrlein notched up just 48 laps but nipped ahead of Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull late on.

Renault's Jolyon Palmer has more than doubled his total mileage from the first test on his opening day with 98 laps which will satisfy the 2014 GP2 champion.



Loading Comments...