Kimi Raikkonen puts Ferrari back on top in pre-season testing as electrical fault keeps Lewis Hamilton in the garage

Ferrari set the fastest lap for the second time in four days at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya

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With Lewis Hamilton out of action because of a mechanical issue, Ferrari set the fastest lap for the second time in four days as the first Formula 1 pre-season test came to an end yesterday.

Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari back on top, driving on an artificially wet track at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya. Tire supplier Pirelli soaked the track's surface overnight with the help of eight water tanks, allowing teams to test this season's wider tires on the wet.

Raikkonen impressed on slicks and recorded a lap of 1 minute, 22.305 seconds, which was 0.897 seconds quicker than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

But Hamilton was not able to run because of an electrical problem with his Mercedes, with his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas only able to finish the day as the eighth-fastest.

"Electrical fault kept us in the garage this morning, so I've decided with the team not to drive today as I wouldn't have learned much," Hamilton explained on Twitter.

"Shame not to drive but it's been a great few days. The guys have done an awesome job. Can't wait to be back in the car next week!"

Hamilton not missing Rosberg as he looks to new season with Mercedes

Bottas did eventually make it out onto the track after Mercedes fixed the problem, but recorded just nine laps of the Barcelona circuit before the conclusion of the morning session as Ferrari – the only team running close to Mercedes this week as teams – impressed again.

Englishman Jolyon Palmer had an impressive day, finishing in the third quickest time in his Renault. Palmer overtook Nico Hulkenberg during the afternoon session and eventually finished a place ahead of Romain Grosjean, who completed an impressive 118 laps in his Haas.

Palmer enjoyed a successful day of testing (Getty)

Williams were however unable to test because of chassis damage discovered after 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll crashed into a barrier on Wednesday. The team said a second chassis would be prepared for next week's four-day session.

It was also a disappointing day for Toro Rosso, who have switched to a Renault engine from a Ferrari unit in time for the new season. Daniil Kvyat completed just a solitary lap before a problem was detected in his engine.

There has been extra interest in this year’s pre-season testing because new rules introduced in 2017 to bring more excitement to the series have given the cars more grip and downforce, making them significantly faster than in previous years.

But as the likes of Stroll and Kvyat can attest, the new cars have also made for some dramatic incidents in testing.

The season-opening race is in Australia on March 26.