Lotus man returns to set the pace after super-soft effort beats Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen.
Pastor Maldonado set the pace on the third day of Formula One pre-season testing at Barcelona in Spain on Saturday, his Lotus setting the fastest time of the test so far.
Maldonado lapped the Circuit de Catalunya in 1m24.348s in his Lotus-Mercedes E23 on super-soft tyres, a couple of tenths quicker than Daniel Ricciardo managed for Red Bull yesterday.
Toro Rosso’s teenaged rookie Max Verstappen also set his fastest time on super-soft tyres with his Renault-powered Toro Rosso STR10, and his was the second fastest time of 1m24.739s.
World champion Lewis Hamilton was third quickest for Mercedes, as it creeps towards the top of the times each day. He was 1.7s off the pace of the glory seekers ahead of him.
Marcus Ericsson recovered from gearbox issues in the morning to set the fourth quickest time for Sauber, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who suffered an embarrassing start to the day when he spun off on cold tyres first thing.
Daniil Kvyat completed a full race-run simulation for Red Bull, his Renault power unit now clear of the problems that afflicted such efforts at Jerez. He ended the day sixth fastest.
Felipe Massa was seventh for Williams, and he handed the Merc-powered FW37 over to teammate Valtteri Bottas in the afternoon, who set the ninth quickest time.
Force India’s Pascal Wehrlein, on loan from Mercedes for a second day, was eighth fastest.
McLaren suffered another troubled day with its Honda powerplant, as Jenson Button only logged 24 laps, being stranded for long periods in the pits due to recurring MGU-K problems and once out on track when his car shut down.
He returned to the track in the afternoon with his engine turned down even more, and was almost 5s off the pace.
Barcelona Day Three times
|2.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m24.739s||+0.391||129|
|6.||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull-Renault||1m26.589s||+2.241||112|
|8.||Pascal Wehrlein||Force India-Mercedes||1m27.333s||+2.985||81|