Formula One is back in Catalunya as the third pre-season test got underway.
Romain Grosjean topped the timesheets to continue Lotus’ strong pace after a week of testing missed due to chassis problems. The Frenchman who will partner Kimi Raikkonen this year, set a fastest lap time of 1.23.252 after 73 laps and this time was a .250 ahead of Jenson Button in 2nd place.
Button, the 2009 World Champion had a short day, just setting 64 laps, but this was good enough for a 1.23.510 lap time, which put the brit in 2nd place.
In 3rd place was Mexican Sergio Perez. The Sauber driver completed 118 laps throughout the day and set a lap time of 1.23.830 which was just ahead of Mark Webber in 4th.
Mark Webber drove the RB8 around Catalunya for 102 laps, resulting in a best time of 1.23.830, Just .010 off Sergio Perez.
Nico Rosberg drove the Mercedes for the day. The German completed 128 laps, the most laps of anybody today and set a time of 1.23.992.
French-man Jean-Eric Vergne, driving for Toro Rosso spent a total of 113 laps on track today at Catalunya. The rookie who will partner Daniel Ricciardo for 2012, set a fastest lap time of 1.24.216.
In 7th place was Paul Di Resta for Sahara Force India. The scot spent 98 laps out on track and achieved a lap time of 1.24.305.
Felipe Massa continued Ferrari’s lacklustre pace with a time of 1.24.318, leaving him down in 8th place.
Vitaly Petrov took the wheel of the CT01 today, as Heikki Kovalainen who was supposed to be driving today, fell ill with food poisoning. Petrov set a time of 1.24.876 after 123 laps.
In 10th and last place for today was Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado for Williams. He set a time of 1.25.587 after 58 laps.
Just a reminder, The testing times are not to be taken as a good guide to the teams. The teams are completing various tests and may be sandbagging to not give away their real pace.
Unofficial Thursday test times from Barcelona:
1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:23.252, 73 Laps
2. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:23.510, 64 Laps
3. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:23.820, 118 Laps
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:23.830, 102 Laps
5. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:23.992, 128 Laps
6. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:24.216, 113 Laps
7. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:24.305, 98 Laps
8. Felipe Masssa, Ferrari, 1:24.318, 105 Laps
9. Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 1:24.876, 123 Laps
10. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:25.587, 58 Laps