• Mugello test - Day 3

Vettel fastest as Alonso shunts updated Ferrari

ESPNF1 Staff
May 3, 2012
Sebastian Vettel got his first full day of testing off to a good start © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of this week's Mugello test during the final morning of running at the Italian circuit.

Vettel took over Red Bull's testing duties from Mark Webber yesterday afternoon and on his first full morning in the car set a 1:21.267 to top the timesheets at lunch. Wednesday's pacesetter Romain Grosjean came within 0.067s of the Red Bull on the first lap of a seven lap run as he got back down to work in the Lotus.

However, it was Ferrari drawing the most attention on Thursday morning as Fernando Alonso debuted the first stage of the team's latest update, including a revised exhaust layout. The rear of the Ferrari now looks more like the other cars on the grid, but bares no specific resemblance to its rivals at the front of the field.

On its second proper run the new package showed potential with a 1:21.363 - the fastest time of the morning at that stage - but on the very same run Alonso ran wide and into the barriers at turn 12 breaking the F2012's new front wing. The team spent two hours assessing the damage with Alonso tweeting: "We lost 2h with an off track (at least we did not break anything ;) )! We will do extra laps this afternoon!!! #Happy." Although the upgrades on the Ferrari at Mugello are significant, Felipe Massa said on Wednesday that the full update package would not hit the track until the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

Fourth fastest was Daniel Ricciardo, as Toro Rosso continued to work on its new updates, ahead of Sergio Perez in the Sauber. Perez's team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was joint fastest on Wednesday, but the team got off to a slow start on Thursday when a small fire had to be extinguished by mechanics in the pit lane.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari in the barriers © Sutton Images
Paul di Resta set about making up for lost time with the sixth fastest time at lunch, after he completed just 14 laps on Wednesday due to reliability problems. The lack of running prompted Force India to delay Nico Hulkenberg's arrival to this afternoon, and di Resta recovered some of the lost mileage by notching up 34 laps ahead of lunch.

However, that was no match for Heikki Kovalainen who completed an impressive 62 laps in the morning session and set the seventh fastest time. It was the Finn's first day in the updated Caterham and he finished the morning 1.902s off Vettel's best.

Oliver Turvey was eighth fastest as he returned to the cockpit of the McLaren for the first time since Tuesday morning. He racked up 34 laps in the MP4-27 and set a fastest time of 1:23.221 as McLaren continued with its low-key test programme, which has featured no major upgrades and neither of the team's race drivers.

Nico Rosberg continued Mercedes' test programme and, like team-mate Michael Schumacher on Wednesday, completed some impressive mileage. Rosberg had 57 laps to his name by lunch, but appeared to be focuing on long-run pace as he was 2.750s off Vettel.

Timo Glock was 10th fastest in the Marussia with only Pastor Maldonado slower after an electrical problem restricted his Williams to just four laps. The team is hopeful Maldonado will return to the track in the afternoon to improve on his only flying lap - a 1:31.769.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB8 1:21.267 47
2. Romain Grosjean Lotus E20 1:21.334 31
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:21.363 29
4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR7 1:22.143 46
5. Sergio Perez Sauber C31 1:22.229 47
6. Paul di Resta Force India VJM05 1:23.002 34
7. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham CT01 1:23.169 62
8. Oliver Turvey McLaren MP4-27 1:22.221 34
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W03 1:24.017 57
10. Timo Glock Marussia MR01 1:24.310 54
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW34 1:31.769 4