Mark Webber in the Red Bull RB6 posted the quickest time on the third day of testing at Jerez. He was the only driver to post a time in the 1:19’s, and was 0.78 quicker than runner up Fernando Alonso, in the Ferrari. In fact, his time was the best of both Jerez test meetings, both this week and last, bettering Lewis Hamilton’s best time from last Saturday.
Alonso and third quickest Jenson Button, in the McLaren were the only two drivers in the 1:20’s. Lap times dropped off significantly from there, with Nico Hulkenberg (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Merecedes) and Robert Kubica (Renault), in the next three slots, all in the 1:21’s. The remainder of the field posted times between the mid 1:22’s and a low 1:26, with the slowest time belonging to Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus.
Track conditions started out damp, the result of an overnight rain, but improved considerably as the day wore on. Skies remained predominantly clear, with the track steadily drying and rubbering in.
The teams seemed to be running mixed programs, with some cars working on relatively short, low fuel runs, and others carrying heavier loads on longer runs. As a result, it’s difficult to draw any definite conclusions from the times. While Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have all looked like pack leaders at various times, either Jerez, or at the earlier tests at Valencia, Merecedes has been consistently running in the middle of the field, at virtually every test.
While this might indicate the Silver Arrows are a bit off the pace compared to their closest rivals, it also might simply be a consequence of when they made their low fuel runs, in relation to track conditions.
Conditions are expected to be favorable tomorrow, for the final day of the test meeting. With the teams continuing to run different programs, however, it’s unlikely that the results will be more definitive than they were today. We’ll probably have to wait until next week, at the Barcelona tests, for the teams to reveal their true hands. It will be the last chance before the season-opener in Bahrain for the teams to test their outright speed.
|1||Mark Webber||Red Bull RB6||1:19.334||80|
|2||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F10||1:20.115||110|
|3||Jenson Button||Mclaren MP4-25||1:20.394||73|
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Williams FW32||1:21.432||110|
|5||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes W01||1:23.367||65|
|6||Robert Kubica||Renault R30||1:21.916||65|
|7||Adrian Sutil||Force India VJM03||1:22.485||40|
|8||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso STR5||1:22.954||89|
|9||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin VR-01||1:23.504||34|
|10||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber C29||1:25.818||6|
|11||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus T127||1:26.033||45|