Lotus made a positive return to testing on Thursday as Romain Grosjean set the pace on the first day of the final pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya.
After missing over three days of testing last week due to a problem with the E20's suspension mounting, the team returned to Spain with a fully working chassis and picked up where it left off at the first test in Jerez. None of the times were as quick as last week's fastest laps, but Grosjean's 1:23.252 on soft tyres was a respectable effort regardless.
He was 0.258s faster than Jenson Button's hard tyre lap from the morning, which stood at the top of timing screens for most of the day. Button completed just 57 laps in the McLaren, which is due a significant upgrade at this test ahead of the season-opener in Melbourne.
Sergio Perez was third fastest after clocking up 118 laps in the Sauber, which stopped on track just before lunch after running out the fuel. The teams routinely run the cars dry in order to determine the range, although Sauber has done it slightly more than the others over the course of the last two tests.
Mark Webber was fourth fastest, 0.578s off Grosjean's lap and completed 102 laps in the Red Bull RB8, improving slightly in the afternoon. Nico Rosberg had the busiest day of all with 128 laps and set the fifth fastest time in the process with a 1:23.992.
Jean-Eric Vergne wasn't far behind Rosberg's lap total but dedicated a lot of his afternoon to pit stop practice and set the sixth fastest time overall. Force India appeared to focus on long runs and again looked strong over the course of the afternoon. Paul di Resta completed a total of 98 laps in the VJM05 and set a best time of 1:24.305s.
For the just second time in pre-season testing Felipe Massa clocked over 100 laps in the new Ferrari, but once again the team's programme appeared to focus on testing new parts rather than completing qualifying or race simulations. By the end of the day he was just over a second slower than Grosjean with 105 laps in total.
Vitaly Petrov was ninth fastest in the Caterham and used a set of super-softs to clock a time 1.624s off Grosjean's. With 123 laps to his name it was his most productive day of testing since joining the team last week, but was slightly tainted when his car stopped on track 15 minutes before the chequered flag.
After setting a series of quick times last week, Pastor Maldonado returned to set the slowest time of the day in the Williams. His best time was 2.335s off Grosjean and he completed just 58 laps in total.
|1.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus E20||1:23.252||73|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren MP4-27||1:23.510||64|
|3.||Sergio Perez||Sauber C31||1:23.820||118|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull RB8||1:23.830||102|
|5.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes W03||1:23.992||128|
|6.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso STR7||1:24.216||113|
|7.||Paul di Resta||Force India VJM05||1:24.305||98|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F2012||1:24.318||105|
|9.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham CT01||1:24.876||123|
|10.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams FW34||1:25.587||58|