• First Barcelona test - Day 3

Maldonado on top in Barcelona

ESPNF1 Staff
February 23, 2012
Pastor Maldonado was quickest after completing 106 laps on Thursday © Sutton Images
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Pastor Maldonado showed some impressive pace for Williams as he made the most of warm conditions to set the fastest time of the day in Barcelona.

On a supersoft-tyre run in the morning session, Maldonado clocked a time of 1:22.391, making use of the higher track temperatures to beat the week's previous best time by 0.217s. Michael Schumacher was a distant second, the best part of a second slower than Maldonado. After hydraulic problems restricted him to 51 laps on day one, Schumacher was the most productive of all the drivers as he completed 127 laps.

Kamui Kobayashi was third quickest with a 1:23.582, ending the day just shy of the 100-lap mark. Kobayashi caused the second red flag of the day as Sauber ran the car dry just prior to lunch. The first was a result of the engine cover coming off Paul di Resta's Force India mid-way through the morning session.

McLaren passed 100 laps for the third time in three days as Jenson Button set the fourth fastest time, his 1:23.918 putting him just over 1.5s slower than Maldonado. Jean-Eric Vergne was fifth quickest, albeit 0.8s slower than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo went on Wednesday. Toro Rosso were working hard in the pit lane too as Vergne completed a number of pit stops late in the afternoon.

Mark Webber was sixth but caused a red flag late in the day when he stopped at turn 8 with what appeared to be a mechanical problem. The stoppage came after a race simulation during which Red Bull had again suffered a couple of delayed pit stops. Webber had actually matched Felipe Massa's time, with Ferrari completing 84 laps as it continues to try to understand the F2012. Massa brought the day's running to a slightly premature end as he stopped at the end of the pit lane with two minutes to go.

Paul di Resta recovered from losing part of his engine cover during the morning session to set a 1:25.646 after lunch. It was clearly a different run programme for Force India today after Nico Hulkenberg set the fastest lap time yesterday.

Timo Glock and Vitaly Petrov were ninth and tenth, with Petrov improving on his time from Wednesday by just 0.150s despite Caterham saying it would focus on a better setup for him.

Times

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW34 1:22.391 106
2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 1:23.384 127
3. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C31 1:23.582 99
4. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-27 1:23.918 114
5. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR07 1:24.433 78
6. Mark Webber Red Bull RB8 1:24.771 97
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari F2012 1:24.771 84
8. Paul di Resta Force India VJM05 1:25.646 83
9. Timo Glock Marussia MVR02 1:26.173 108
10. Vitaly Petrov Caterham CT01 1:26.448 70

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