Felipe Massa put 85 laps on the Scuderia Ferrari F138 with his best lap at a 1:17.879 for the fastest unofficial lap time on the 4.428km circuit in Jerez, Spain. The Brazilian laid down his hot lap near the end of the morning session; he now holds the best lap time overall in on the third day of Formula One’s preseason testing.
“These were three very important days,” said Massa. “They were especially useful in the sense of finding the right direction for the team to focus on when it come to the development work between now and the opening round in Australia. We had a lot of items to test and the car went well, it was not difficult to drive and it seemed to me to be quite stable and balanced."
Pedro de la Rosa will take control of the F138 tomorrow as Fernando Alonso was not present in Jerez but will be at the next preseason test days.
Second was Nico Rosberg in the repaired Mercedes AMG. It was the first time that the team had more than 19 laps on their new F1 W04; Rosberg toured the circuit for 148 laps! He said, “To drive the distance from Silverstone to Spa in one day with no problems whatsoever is a fantastic achievement from the team. It really made up for the last two days and put a smile on everybody's face.”
Third today was the three-time consecutive world champion. Mark Webber put the first paces of the new RB9 though its initial shakedown, and was the driver behind the wheel on the second day. Sebastian Vettel’s time was a 1:19.052 on what is appearing to be a very reliable new car and add to that, no engine hiccups of their Renault.
"It was great to get back in the car, to get rid of the rust and to get back in the groove again," said Vettel. "The first feeling is good and the car is working well. It’s difficult to judge the speed, but in terms of reliability it looks pretty good.”
It was also the first appearance for Kimi Raikkonen for the Lotus F1 team. Finishing third in the title fight last year, and today he laid down the fourth best time at 1:19.200. He only put in 40 laps due to a clutch failure in the new E21 powered by Renault. The Iceman commented, "It was good to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car again. The E21 feels quite good so far, even if the balance isn’t quite to my liking yet. That didn’t stop us going through the programme we wanted to do which had a lot of aero runs in it.”
The most dramatic move of the day goes to James Rossiter who entered the pits, and hit one of his Force India mechanics. Apparently he misjudged the braking point in the VJM06. The third driver for the team was relieved that the mechanic was only slightly bruised. “It has been four and a half years since I last drove a Formula One car, but with the simulator experience I’ve built up recently it didn’t take too long to get back up to speed,” explained Rossiter.
Tomorrow will be the final day of the first preseason testing at Jerez. The teams will gather their data before the next round in Spain.
|2||Nico Rosberg||MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS||1:18.766||148|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:19.052||102|
|5||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:19.247||85|
|6||James Rossiter||Sahara Force India||1:19.303||42|
|12||Paul Di Resta||Sahara Force India||1:23.729||7|