Fernando Alonso confirmed the inherent leading pace of the Ferrari F10 by topping the timesheets as testing finished at Valencia.
With three Spaniards doing the driving duties today, an enormous crowd of over 36,000 fans flocked to the Ricardo Tormo circuit to watch their homegrown heroes, with Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber and Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso flying the Spanish flag for their respective teams. The Spanish fans would end the day delighted, as de la Rosa took the second-quickest time and Alguersuari finished an impressive fourth-quickest on the timesheets.
Alonso kept the Maranello squad on the top of the timesheets following team-mate Felipe Massa heading the testing times on the previous two days of running, underlining the impressive potential of the F10.
The double world champion wasted little time in settling into the cockpit, and set the week’s quickest time of 1:11.470 just before 2pm on a multi-lap run with a decent fuel load.
Sauber took the runner’s-up testing time for the third day running, with Pedro de la Rosa’s quickest time 0.6s off Alonso’s electric pace. De la Rosa did, however, have to be lifted back to the pits on a flatbed truck after clipping Nico Hulkenberg when attempting to pass the Williams driver.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher returned to the Mercedes GP cockpit for his second day in the car, and sampled a black crash helmet for the day’s running. He notched up 82 laps and set the third-quickest time before being sidelined with a hydraulics issue.
Jenson Button played up to the gathered press by making a show of the number 1 on his McLaren before hopping in to sample the MP4-25. He completed the day fifth-quickest of the seven runners, just under 1.5s off Alonso’s pace.
Joining Hulkenberg as one of F1’s other rookies was Vitaly Petrov in the Renault. In the battle of the rookies, it was Petrov who emerged the quicker of the two, finishing 0.6s quicker than the German, whose best time of 1:13.669 was slowest of the drivers.
Wednesday’s testing times:
|1.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||1:11.470||(127 laps)|
|2.||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber Ferrari||1:12.091||(80)|
|3.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:12.438||(82)|
|4.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:12.576||(97)|
|5.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes||1:12.951||(82)|
|7.||Nico Hulkenberg||Williams Cosworth||1:13.699||(126)|
[Image via ITV-F1]