• Mugello test

Alonso stays on top at Mugello after afternoon washout

ESPNF1 Staff
May 1, 2012
Fernando Alonso set the morning pace at Mugello © Getty Images
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Fernando Alonso topped the first day of testing at Mugello on Tuesday after a downpour seriously limited running in the afternoon.

Alonso set his time during a brief window of dry running just before lunch, making the most of a set of slick tyres before the rain returned in the afternoon. At one stage the weather was so intense the session had to be red flagged as the medical helicopter was not able to take off - not that it made much difference to the teams, which showed no desire to send their cars out in the worst of the weather and risk an accident.

Alonso's time of 1:22.444 was 1.204s clear of his nearest competitor, Mark Webber in the Red Bull, and 1.447s faster than Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso. Ferrari, which is working on a major update for the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend, completed 46 laps in total, including 15 in the final hour of the afternoon when Alonso was sent out to complete a series of practice starts. But the Spaniard denied the Spanish Grand Prix updates will make or break Ferrari's season: "We need to catch up race after race. [But] if we do poorly in Barcelona, it doesn't mean our season is over."

Other drivers willing to brave the conditions in the afternoon were Michael Schumacher, who took over the Mercedes from Nico Rosberg after lunch, Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas, Roldolfo Gonzalez in the Caterham, Jules Bianchi in the Force India and Gary Paffett, who took over the cockpit of the McLaren from Oliver Turvey in the afternoon. Needless to say, none of them improved on their morning times.

That meant Lotus test driver Jerome d'Ambrosio remained fourth fastest with his morning time of 1:24.048, ahead of Rosberg in fifth who said the damp running in the morning was actually quite valuable for Mercedes after its struggles at the wet Malaysian Grand Prix.

Kobayashi set the sixth fastest time in a Sauber with a new front wing, new rear body work and new diffuser. Turvey was seventh fastest in the McLaren ahead of Bianchi in the Force India and Gonzalez in the Caterham, who last weekend raced for Caterham's GP2 team in Bahrain. Charles Pic rounded out the top ten for Marussia while Bottas did not set a competitive time as Williams gathered data on a modified exhaust layout in the morning before returning to its old setup in the afternoon.

Paffett completed just four laps in the McLaren with a best time of 1:50.898 on the soaked track, while Schumacher ducked in and out of the pits during his five laps and therefore did not register a time.

Times

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:22.444 46
2. Mark Webber Red Bull RB8 1:23.648 24
3. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR7 1:23.891 32
4. Jerome d'Ambrosio Lotus E20 1:24.048 40
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W03 1:24.100 49
6. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C31 1:24.736 48
7. Oliver Turvey McLaren MP4-27 1:25.303 30
8. Jules Bianchi Force India VJM05 1:25.475 19
9. Roldolfo Gonzalez Caterham CT01 1:27.197 35
10. Charles Pic Marussia MR01 1:27.359 45
11. Valtteri Bottas Williams FW34 1:29.179 28
12. Gary Paffett McLaren MP4-27 1:50.898 4
13. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 No time 5

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