Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the day – and the second best by a 2012 car across all four days – as Ferrari ended the preseason test at Jerez on a positive note.
The Scuderia had struggled to get on top of the radical F2012 during the first three days but, with Alonso at the helm, it rose to the top of the time sheets early on in day four and was never displaced.
Alonso ended with a best of 1m18.877s, set at the start of a six-lap run which also included laps in the 1m19s and 1m20s. It was enough to put him seven tenths clear of the day four field, with only Romain Grosjean on the previous day able to go faster in this year's new breed of cars. Alonso was, however, only able to set two timed laps after 11:00am, as Ferrari grappled with a hydraulic issue that restricted its afternoon program.
Jean-Eric Vergne hung on to second despite a late rally from Sebastian Vettel in the RB8, which had been beset by electrical issues in the morning. Vergne finished his second day for Toro Rosso with a 1m19.597s, nine thousandths quicker than Vettel's benchmark, set in the afternoon when conditions were not at their prime. Lewis Hamilton wound up fourth, just 34 thousandths of a second down the road in McLaren's MP4-27.
Romain Grosjean did not get down to his day three benchmark, but did enough to end the day in fifth with a 1m19.729s.
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, taking over from Sergio Perez for the final day, sealed sixth with a 1m19.834s. A hydraulic leak on the C31 brought about one of several short red flag periods, although the team was able to repair the car and return to the track before the day's end. Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna and Jarno Trulli rounded out the day's running order.
Hulkenberg, getting his first taste of the new Force India after a planned run on Thursday afternoon was thwarted by Jules Bianchi's crash, completed 90 laps and was the last driver to break the 1m20s barrier.
Senna managed an impressive 124 laps on his way to eighth fastest. The Brazilian's day included 25- and 37-lap stints, and also featured a stoppage on track from which he and the car were quickly recovered.
Trulli, the day's other newcomer over at Caterham, completed 117 laps and finished with a best of 1m22.198s, just over three seconds down on Alonso.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Alonso Ferrari 1m18.877s 39
2. Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.597s +0.720 80
3. Vettel Red Bull 1m19.606s +0.729 50
4. Hamilton McLaren 1m19.640s +0.763 86
5. Grosjean Lotus 1m19.729s +0.852 95
6. Kobayashi Sauber 1m19.834s +0.957 76
7. Hulkenberg Force India 1m19.977s +1.100 90
8. Senna Williams 1m20.132s +1.255 125
9. Trulli Caterham 1m22.198s +3.321 117