Ferrari fastest, Mercedes churns out miles as F1 tests end

At the very least, If Ferrari does decide to leave Formula One, if they can leave with a couple of championships because of the competitiveness of their race cars throughout these next couple of seasons, it would definitely lend credibility to a rival series of Formula One.

However, the Spanish former world champion was rapid in the afternoon as he displayed his best to clock the second-fastest time.

"In two weeks everybody will know where everyone is", he continued, "but until then we are only guessing, like we were before testing started, so let's wait and see".

"...the circuit has changed, we have a new surface so it is difficult to compare", Mr. Raikkonen said. We are a little bit stretched in terms of lead time and delayed.

Force India driver Esteban Ocon of France steers his car during a Formula One pre-season testing session in Montmelo, outside Barcelona, Spain, Friday, March 9, 2018.

It is threatening pace as well as reliability, too, with Pierre Gasly firing in a quick lap near the end to demote reigning champion Lewis Hamilton to eighth in the times.

And despite not using the softest tyre available, Hamilton was amazed by the pace produced by his Mercedes in comparison to last year.

Red Bull's best time on the hypersofts - Daniel Ricciardo's lap of 1:18.047 - was nearly a second shy of Ferrari's, but Thursday's cooler temperatures were more conducive to fast times.

After three years under unreliable and underperforming Honda engines, McLaren have finally swapped for Renault power in a move that is set to bolster their chances of securing a podium finish for the first time since 2014.

Renault also struggled for mileage, with only four laps for Carlos Sainz after a gearbox problem kept his car in the garage for most of the morning. "The car gives me a good feeling and, even if there are still a lot of things to improve, it's reasonably easy to drive. But it is the wrong time to draw any conclusions".

An oil leak related to the chassis issue that stalled progress on the first day of testing this week forced a power unit refit and a defensive attitude from racing director Eric Boullier.

Raikkonen was typically reluctant to predict Ferrari's position among the pecking order. This presents its own set of challenges as multi-team battles result in one driver being favoured over another. Romain Grosjean had the fifth-best time a day after teammate Kevin Magnussen was second behind Vettel.

In new signing Charles Leclerc, they possess one of the most promising young drivers in the sport.

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