Formula 1

Raikkonen ups the pace in testing, Alonso in seventh

Alonso's McLaren Honda lies seventh on the time trials list which he led during the first hour, a table now topped by Fin Kimi Raikonnen.

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Raikkonen ups the pace in testing, Alonso in seventh
Mark Thompson Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen registered the fastest time in Formula One testing so far this season on the third day of the second test in Barcelona, showcasing the new cockpit "halo" safety device in the process. Raikkonen beat teammate Sebastian Vettel's previous best time from last week on ultrasoft tyres in 1min 22.765sec.

Even more encouragingly for Ferrari, Raikkonen even beat the best time posted so far by dominant world champions Mercedes on the soft tyre compound. The Finn also tested out a proposed new cockpit safety measure for next season called the "halo." The three-pointed carbon structure is designed to protect drivers from flying debris following the deaths of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson last year. "Massive safety improvement. It will look ok too eventually. I'M ALL FOR IT!" Mercedes' Nico Rosberg posted on his Twitter account.

Felipe Massa also produced Williams' best time of the winter on soft tyres to record the second fastest time of the day.

German Nico Hulkenberg continued to show Force India's good pre-season pace with the third quickest time, albeit on the ultrasoft compound. Mercedes again refused to show their real speed on the penultimate day of testing before the opening race of the season in Australia on March 20.

Rosberg and world champion Lewis Hamilton once again shared driving duties for a combined 144 laps, but only posted the fourth and 11th best time respectively.

McLaren-Honda's steady progress continued as for the second consecutive day they passed a century of laps with Fernando Alonso managing 118 in seventh-fastest.

American newbies Haas had a more productive day after failing to even record a lap time on Wednesday as Romain Grosjean completed 78 laps, but the Frenchman also produced three red flags to suggest their reliability remains a problem.