Nico Rosberg Nico Rosberg has become the latest driver to end a pre-season test day quickest overall, posting a super-quick lap late on the third day of testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

In a day that started off in damp conditions, the German outpaced Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, while Lewis Hamilton endured another reliability-afflicted day, but still managed to be third-quickest at the end of the day’s play.

Following more overnight rain, overcast conditions greeted the twelve teams in the morning, and with the sun struggling to break through until about lunchtime, this afforded them all plenty of mileage on Pirelli’s wet tyres.

The conditions created problems for several drivers, with Felipe Massa not surprisingly suffering a couple of spins in his Ferrari. Rookie drivers Sergio Pérez and Pastor Maldonado also suffered in the conditions, although neither caused any damage to their respective cars.

By the afternoon, just a few damp patches remained on track, and Rosberg’s best effort came in the final fifteen minutes of the day with a qualifying-style run to post a 1:23.168. On his longer stints – some up to around 15 laps long – he had lapped consistently in the 1m29s to 1m30s range.

  Felipe Massa
Massa struggled in the wet conditions with two spins 

Almost three-tenths slower than Rosberg was Vitaly Petrov, who missed much of the early wet running before ramping up his effort in the afternoon, when the bulk of his 90-odd laps were logged. Similar to Rosberg, his fastest time came by dint of a qualifying simulation.

Third-quickest was Hamilton, whose McLaren suffered with yet more reliability issues in the morning, which forced him to abandon any hopes of completing a race simulation. Once the car was running, however, he was not surprisingly quick – fastest when the conditions were becoming drier – and lapped with a similar pace to Rosberg on longer runs, before he banged in a quick one on a qualifying simulation.

  Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton conceded that McLaren’s reliability issues are of no help to understanding the MP4-26.

Despite his spin in the wet, Pastor Maldonado took his Williams to fourth-fastest on his first outing in the car at Barcelona, although he was almost a full second adrift of Hamilton’s fastest lap, and suffered a loss of track time with an alternator problem.

Mark Webber
Webber explored the limits of his RB7 in the greasy conditions during the morning’s running 

Mark Webber also had his first run in this test at Barcelona, and was unable to repeat the chart-topping efforts of his team-mate Sebastian Vettel from the first two days’ running. The Australian caused the final red flag of the day – bringing the day’s running to an end with two minutes to go – when he stopped on track. Unlike those ahead of him, his fastest lap came at the start of a 17-lap stint while running a race simulation.

Jarno Trulli took his Lotus to sixth-fastest, ahead of Pérez’s Sauber and Adrian Sutil’s Force India, although he lost a lot of track time with a water leak in his Renault engine.

Ninth-fastest was Sébastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso, who split his running with the team’s reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was among the quickest drivers on slick tyres when the conditions were switching to a drier track – he would finish up 13th overall due to not having any running when the conditions were completely dry.

Another team to split its driving duties between two pilots was Hispania Racing, with Narain Karthikeyan running on a similar pace to the frontrunners during the changeable conditions, a feat all the more impressive given he was in a year-old, near-undeveloped car. The Indian finished last on the timesheets purely as a result of missing on on the best conditions so Giorgio Mondini could make his return to an F1 cockpit.

  Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo was very quick in the changeable conditions 

Giorgio Mondini It was the 30-year-old Swiss driver’s first F1 outing since 2006 as a Friday driver for the Midland team, and he acquitted himself well over his 39 laps, lapping within 1.6 seconds of eleventh-placed Timo Glock.

The final day of the four-day test session kicks off on Monday at 9am local time.

[Images via GP Update, LAT & Sutton Images]


Barcelona Pre-Season Test (Day 3) Lap Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 1:23.168 92
2. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 0.295 93
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.690 93
4. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.647 60
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 1.827 139
6. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 2.286 48
7. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.389 115
8. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 2.552 102
9. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.987 31
10. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150th Italia + 3.340 123
11. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 3.430 97
12. Giorgio Mondini SUI HRT Cosworth F110* + 5.010 39
13. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 5.161 42
14. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT Cosworth F110* + 7.554 32

* Denotes interim-spec or 2010 model

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.