- First Barcelona Test, Day Three
Soft tyre lap puts Alonso top at lunch
Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of his final morning in the Ferrari at the second test at Barcelona.
Despite very cool conditions throughout the first four hours of running, Alonso set a best time of 1:21.875 as he tried out the soft compound Pirelli tyres for the first time. Ferrari said that understanding the softs was its priority for the morning but admitted it was unsure how reliable the data would be in the cool conditions.
Nico Hulkenberg was second quickest in the Sauber as he too ran the soft tyres, ending the morning less than 0.3s slower than Alonso. Once again Sauber was testing its version of a drag reduction device (DRD) which was then removed from the car later in the morning.
Following Kimi Raikkonen's gearbox problems on Wednesday, Romain Grosjean enjoyed a much more productive start to the day for Lotus as he completed 47 laps and was third quickest with a 1:22.188. That left him over 0.4s clear of Nico Rosberg who managed only 28 laps for Mercedes.
Pastor Maldonado was within 0.05s of Rosberg as he resumed running in the FW35. Maldonado's best of 1:22.675 came on the soft tyre and was part of a very busy morning at Williams as he crammed in 79 laps including a race simulation ahead of handing the car over to Valtteri Bottas this afternoon.
Jenson Button was sixth fastest but bucked the trend by setting his best time on the hard compound tyre. It was a relatively quiet morning for McLaren as it got through just 29 laps but being able to get the time out of the hards in such cool conditions looked encouraging.
Force India started its back-to-back days of running with potential 2013 race drivers as Adrian Sutil returned to a Formula One car for the first time since 2011. Sutil enjoyed a relatively trouble-free morning as he set a best time of 1:22.977 on the softs.
The top nine were covered by just 1.5s as Mark Webber set the eighth-quickest time on medium tyres for Red Bull, leaving him ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso.
1 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:21.875, 51 laps
2 Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1:22.160, 43 laps
3 Roman Grosjean (Lotus) 1:22.188, 47 laps
4 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:22.627, 29 laps
5 Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1:22.675, 79 laps
6 Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:22.840 29 laps
7 Adrian Sutil (Force India) 1:22.877 39 laps
8 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1:23.024, 46 laps
9 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:23.366, 66 laps
10 Max Chilton (Marussia) 1:26.416, 33 laps
11 Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) 1:27.344, 50 laps