The third day of testing completed yesterday and finally the weather played nice and the teams were able to run in the dry and get to know their chassis more intimately. The third day of four also saw many teams changing their drivers to allow each the opportunity to drive, and as the session closed it was Red Bull’s Mark Webber who posted the fastest time around Spain’s Jerez circuit, completing the lap 0.8s faster than nearest rival Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.
Not only was Webber the fastest driver of the day yesterday, but his lap time was also the fastest of the year, the Australian beating the previous benchmark set by Lewis Hamilton last week. Fernando Alonso was the second-busiest driver of the day, touring the circuit 132 times and able to learn more about the F10 car. Jenson Button was running in the McLaren MP4-25 and the Briton managed a third-fastest time, just under 0.3s shy of the Ferrari.
Kamui Kobayashi, who took over duties at Sauber from Pedro De La Rosa, endured a miserable day and stopped on track just a couple of hours into the morning’s run. The C29 suffered a fuel system problem which took five hours to correct. When Kobayashi returned he could only manage 28 laps, his fastest placing him eighth on the timing sheet.
Jaime Alguersuari took control of the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5 and completed 120 laps of the circuit, although his best time was only good enough for P9. Alguersuari failed to emulate the pretty competitive times set by team mate Sebastien Buemi on Wednesday, although given the improvement in weather, probably more indicative of where the STR5 is in comparison to others
Force India decided to concentrate on just one driver for the day, running Adrian Sutil exclusively in the VJM03. Sutil completed 69 laps and was placed in a fairly comfortable P7 by the end of the afternoon, just 0.23s shy of Robert Kubica in the Renault. Michael Schumacher returned to the Mercedes, the German’s best time being just 0.005s behind the busiest driver of the day, Williams pilot Nico Hulkenberg.
The day saw a total of six red flags, two from Lucas Di Grassi in the Virgin who finished the test in tenth, one from Mark Webber who stopped just before lunch, one from Nico Hulkenberg who stopped five minutes from the end causing the whole session to end a little early, another came from Heikki Kovalainen who finished his day in eleventh and the final red flag was caused by Kobayashi in his faulty Sauber.
|1.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||1m19.299s||115 Laps|
|2.||Fernando Alonso Ferrari||1m20.115s||132 Laps|
|3.||Jenson Button McLaren||1m20.394s||101 Laps|
|4.||Nico Hulkenberg Williams||1m21.432s||138 Laps|
|5.||Michael Schumacher Mercedes||1m21.437s||79 Laps|
|6.||Robert Kubica Renault||1m21.916s||100 Laps|
|7.||Adrian Sutil Force India||1m21.939s||69 Laps|
|8.||Kamui Kobayashi Sauber||1m22.228s||28 Laps|
|9.||Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m22.564s||120 Laps|
|10.||Lucas Di Grassi Virgin Racing||1m23.504s||34 Laps|
|11.||Heikki Kovalainen Lotus||1m23.521s||68 Laps|