BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 21, 2013 (AFP) - Former world champion Fernando Alonso went fastest in Thursday morning's session at Barcelona's Catalunya circuit on the third day of testing before the start of the new Formula One season.
Once again the conditions were not the best early in the session as temperatures were on the cool zone. it took few hours for the track to become a reliable source of data.
The Spaniard, second last year to Sebastian Vettel, clocked 1 minute 23.046 seconds in his Ferrari to place ahead of German Nico Hulkenberg, who timed 1:22.160 in his Sauber.
Alonso went out to the soft compound Pirelli tyres for the first time, and good result just came by claiming the best time.
Ferrari commented that the priority was to understand the soft tyre behavior, but also admitted that cool condition were not ideal to serve as food for analysis.
Sauber decided to test the soft compound too, and Nico Hulkenberg soon showed the C32 might be a force to have in sight, even more when the team considers using its own drag reduction device (DRD) that was tested and later removed at the end of the morning. Hulkenberg time was 0.3 seconds slower than Alonso.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fourth for Lotus with a time of 1:24.376 in 47 laps.
Pastor Maldonado brought another fifth best times for Williams, who had to spend a lot of time in front of their screens given the 79 laps the Venezuelan ran around the circuit.
McLaren’s Jenson Button had an interesting morning with a sixth best the came on the hard tyres, which could be seen as a good result given the rubber option.
Adrian Sutil earned the seven spot in his fight to become Force India’s second driver. The German ran with the soft tyres and ran 39 laps in the day he came back to a Formula 1 car, first since 2011.
The new season opens in Melbourne, Australia on March 17.
Fastest times in Thursday morning session
|7||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:22.877||1.002||39|
|8||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:23.024||1.149||46|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:23.366||1.491||66|
|11||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham||1:27.344||5.469||50|