Daniel Ricciardo brought our pre-season test schedule to a close with the day’s fourth fastest lap of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a 1:18.327 set on supersoft tyres.
The Australian, who managed 90 laps on a day heavily focused on aero work, long runs and the medium tyre and only bolted on the supersoft tyre in the final hour of running after the team had effected some changes during a 1hr30m spell in the garage.
Daniel quickly made the changes tell and he ended the session just over a second behind pacesetter Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari. However, the Finn used the quicker hypersoft tyres in the morning run that sealed his place at the top of the standings.
After the session Daniel said that a productive second week of testing and a good feeling from the RB14 will see him heading to Melbourne for his home race expecting to battle at the front.
"We had some strong pace in testing at times, but then you see what others are doing and then you’re not sure anymore, but I think we’re looking OK,” he said. “I think we still have to find a bit of time, we still have things to improve, but I think we are close enough to be in the hunt.
“It’s been a good winter, we did a lot of laps and we’re definitely feeling better about ourselves than we did 12 months ago. For me, I’m glad testing is over, it’s not that exciting, especially when you’re in the middle of a long run on a good bit of fuel! I’m looking forward to Melbourne now, that’s what my sights are set on. I’d love a good result there. We’ll try to come out with strong intentions. I think we can be close and I’m looking forward to a battle.”
Commenting on the day’s running, Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “This week has been extremely productive and it was a similar story today, even though we covered fewer laps than on either of the past two days. In the morning we conducted a lot of aero work and stuck to the medium tyres. In fact, that was the case for most of the day. We made some changes in the afternoon and Daniel had a run on the supersofts later on, and he set an encouraging time on those.
“Overall, it’s been an excellent week of testing for us and we learned a lot about the RB14,” he added. “Now we have two weeks to analyse all of that information and act on it before arriving in Melbourne, where we’ll see who has done the best job over the winter.”
Second spot on the day four timesheet went to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard’s morning session was disrupted by a turbo issue but he made up for lost time in the afternoon, using the hypersoft to post some quick laps late on. Alonso briefly claimed top spot as the session came to a close but he cut the chicane and the lap time was deleted. He managed to complete 93 laps overall to get within six tenths of a second of Räikkönen.
Carlos Sainz was third for Renault ahead of Daniel, with the day’s busiest man, Romain Grosjean completing the top-five order on ultrasofts from his 181 laps of the Barcelona circuit. Valtteri Bottas took over from team-mate Lewis Hamilton (P11) in the afternoon to finish sixth for Mercedes using the medium tyre.
Brendon Hartley was seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon, while Charles Leclerc recovered from a morning spin to take ninth place.
Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin completed the top 10 ahead of Hamilton and last-placed team-mate Lance Stroll.