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Raikkonen sets blistering pace as F1 winter testing ends in Barcelona

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Kimi Raikkonen offered a further indication that Ferrari may be one of the teams to beat in Formula 1 this year by setting a blistering pace on the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Raikkonen managed to better the existing best time of the winter set by Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel on Thursday, posting a lap of 1:18.634.

The Finn ends pre-season as the only driver to have dipped below the 1:19s range, with his lap being just a couple of tenths off the overall lap record at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, Raikkonen’s day was not without trouble as a late stoppage at the final chicane cost Ferrari some mileage, but it nevertheless ends the winter as the fastest team on paper.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was left to finish as the best of the rest on Friday, posting a fastest lap of 1:19.438, while Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. ended up third overall, albeit suffering one stoppage on the main straight in the afternoon.

Mercedes split its running between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton once again in Barcelona, with the drivers finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

Nico Hulkenberg wound up sixth for Renault ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and new teammate Jolyon Palmer, while Williams rookie Lance Stroll had a trouble-free day en route to P9 overall.

McLaren ended pre-season testing on a sour note as Fernando Alonso’s running was limited once again by issues with his Honda power unit, the Spaniard suffering two on-track stoppages. Alonso finished up 10th, 2.7 seconds off Raikkonen’s benchmark.

Romain Grosjean had one on-track issue for Haas but finished the day 11th ahead of Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein, the latter propping up the timesheets.

With winter testing now complete, the F1 drivers will get their next taste of on-track action during first practice for the Australian Grand Prix on March 24.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.