F1 Paddock Pass: Barcelona testing day four (VIDEO)

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Formula 1’s pre-season test running in Barcelona came to a close on Friday as Kimi Raikkonen blitzed his way to the fastest time of the winter.

Raikkonen was the only driver to dip below the 1:19s mark in Barcelona over the eight days of running, flirting with the fastest ever lap at the circuit on the outskirts of the city.

The result acted as a statement of intent from Ferrari upon which to finish testing, leaving Mercedes to settle for second place in the pecking order with Red Bull for close company.

It was another disastrous day for McLaren, though, as the team suffered two more on-track stoppages amid ongoing issues with its Honda power unit.

Recapping the final day of pre-season testing, NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton brings you the latest edition of Paddock Pass.

In today’s episode, Will speaks to Haas driver Romain Grosjean, Force India deputy chief Bob Fernley, plus NBCSN analysts Steve Matchett and Leigh Diffey.

You can watch part one above, with part two below.

Paddock Pass returns at the Australian Grand Prix on the March 26 weekend.

F1’s Valtteri Bottas to compete in first-ever rally race in his native Finland

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Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.

More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.

Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.

He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”

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