• Jerez Test, Day 4

Alonso tops lunchtime standings

Laurence Edmondson at Jerez February 10, 2012
Fernando Alonso was quickest on Friday morning after completing 22 laps © Getty Images
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Fernando Alonso helped to allay some of the early fears surrounding the new Ferrari F2012 by setting the fastest time on the final morning of testing at Jerez.

The Ferrari had not featured in the top six times all week amid comments from technical director Pat Fry that the car was not where he had hoped it to be. But Alonso responded by setting a 1:18.877 midway through the morning, the second fastest time of any 2012 car so far.

His run was on soft tyres, whereas Romain Grosjean's 2012 benchmark time in the Lotus was on mediums, but considering Ferrari has vowed not to go chasing headline times, it's an indication that perhaps things are starting to gel for the new F2012.

Meanwhile, the first signs of a chink in the Red Bull RB8's armour emerged as Sebastian Vettel was limited to just two lap due to an electrical problem. Mechanics immediately swarmed the car to try to find a solution, but by lunch the world champion had still not emerged.

Jean-Eric Vergne was second fastest at lunch as the Toro Rosso continued to show promising performance and reliability. His time of 1:19.597 was just 0.010s slower than the best time team-mate Daniel Ricciardo achieved earlier this week and 0.720s slower than Alonso's best. Lewis Hamilton was next up with a 1:19.640 after completing 36 laps in the McLaren.

Grosjean and Kamui Kobayashi were close behind in the Lotus and Sauber respectively. Grosjean had a more leisurely morning, and with the team confident it has nailed the baseline setup on the new car, it started tinkering with the settings of the E20 to find more time. Meanwhile, Kobayashi was in a rush to make up for Sauber's lost time yesterday, completing a solid 40 laps on the medium tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg is also facing a hefty workload today as the team completed just two laps on Wednesday following Jules Bianchi's accident. The car, complete with brand new right rear suspension components delivered overnight, set a time of 1:19.977 after 45 laps.

But arguably Bruno Senna had the most impressive morning with 98 laps behind the wheel of the Williams FW34 by lunchtime. His time of 1:20.132 was the best the car has achieved all week and only 1.225s off Alonso's best, although the morning's work was tainted when the FW34 stopped on track just before lunch.

Jarno Trulli rounded off the order as he got his first taste of the Caterham CT01. He completed a decent amount of mileage and set a best time of 1:22.214.

Times at 13:00

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:18.877 22
2. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR7 1:19.597 41
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-27 1:19.640 36
4. Romain Grosjean Lotus E20 1:19.729 31
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C31 1:19.834 48
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India VJM05 1:19.977 45
7. Bruno Senna Williams FW34 1:20.132 98
8. Jarno Trulli Caterham CT01 1:22.214 61

Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor on ESPNF1

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Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010