Alonso tops the speedcharts on third day of testing in Barcelona

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso laid down the unofficial fastest lap on his third day in the 2013 car after missing the preseason testing in Jerez.

Fernando Alonso knew the new F138 had the speed and on the third day of testing for the Spaniard, he topped the unofficial time sheets on Circuit de Catalunya in his homeland. More importantly, the issues of the past two days allowed him to finally get laps under his belt. The 2012 vice champion clocked a time of 1:21.875 with a total of 97 laps around the circuit in Barcelona.

It was a cloudy day for the FIA Formula One Championship’s third test day in Spain but for Ferrari and Alonso it was a positive outcome after two earlier days with the dreaded issues that caused them time in the garage. Of course they were not the only team shaking down the new cars that had problems. In fact the testing will continue tomorrow and again next week as they all prepare for the first grand prix in Australia.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F138 in the pits
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F138 in the pits

Photo by: XPB Images

Alonso commented on his day which focused on the new Pirelli tyres and comparing the different compounds: "The track was colder than yesterday, especially in the morning, which made it harder to adapt the car and find the right grip level. We tried various aerodynamic configurations and for the first time, we made some set-up changes to get a good understanding of tyre behaviour and degradation."

Felipe Massa will be in the F138 cockpit for tomorrow's final day of the second round of preseason testing. Added Alonso, "With every change we made, the car reacted as I expected and it was useful to try out the different settings, especially to understand which direction we need to go in next week, when there will be a greater emphasis on performance."

Like most of the teams, Nico Hülkenberg and the Sauber F1 Ferrari team focused on the tyres and setup changes in the morning but switched over later in the day to focus on the full-fuel long runs. His best unofficial time was 1:22.160, and he put an additional 91 laps on the C32. Tomorrow the team's rookie Esteban Gutiérrez will be back in the car for the second time this week.

"It was a positive day. We got a lot of testing done with just minor problems. I ran the soft tyres in the morning here in Barcelona for the first time to get a feeling for those, which was interesting. The car is performing pretty well, and I‘m as happy as I can be," said Hülkenberg.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E21
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E21

Photo by: XPB Images

The one positive for the Lotus Renault team is they have the speed, and both drivers have been happy with the new E21, and yet they also have had the usual new car syndromes of not being perfect out of the box. Romain Grosjean was back in the cockpit and ended with the third fastest time of 1:22.188, and he also ended the day with the most laps -- 119 in total. The team had no issues that sidelined the Frenchman -- a perfect day in fact.

Grosjean said, “I think I’m ready for a sleep after so many laps in the car! It’s good to see reliability today to add to the pace we’ve already seen in the car. We’re still at an early stage of development so it’s really promising to see where we are. It was difficult out on track as temperatures were so low, but we’ve gained a lot of useful data. The 2013 tyres certainly feel different from last year’s but already we’re starting to understand them. I hope it’s dry tomorrow so we can get some more laps under our belt.”

Unofficial times

Pos. Driver Car Time Laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.875 97
2 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:22.160 91
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:22.188 119
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.611 108
5 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:22.675 79
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.826 68
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:22.840 71
8 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:22.877 78
9 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:23.024 108
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:23.366 106
11 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.690 58
12 Giedo Van Der Garde Caterham 1:26.177 93

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , Fernando Alonso , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Pastor Maldonado , Adrian Sutil , Nico Hulkenberg , Romain Grosjean , Max Chilton , Esteban Gutierrez , Valtteri Bottas , Jean-Eric Vergne
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams , Lotus F1 Team
Article type Testing report
Tags alsonso, barcelona, circuit de catalunya, ferrari, grosjean, lotus, sauber