Fernando Alonso turned the tables on a difficult start to preseason testing for Ferrari by going fastest on the fourth and final morning at Jerez.
Ferrari has struggled to get on top of the F2012 thus far in testing, with technical director Pat Fry admitting on Thursday he was "not happy with where we are." Yet while Alonso's run to the top of the times could therefore be more the product of a low-fuel run than a genuine breakthrough, it nevertheless represents a modicum of progress for his Italian team – particularly as it was just four tenths slower than the overall best seen at Jerez.
As Ferrari prospered, Red Bull was conspicuous by its absence as Sebastian Vettel managed just two laps on the final morning at Jerez. The reigning champion, third fastest yesterday, encountered an electrical problem early on and has thus far been able to return to the track after two installation laps at the start of the day. Sister team Toro Rosso suffered no such issues, and ended the day second fastest at the hands of Jean-Eric Vergne, seven tenths down on Alonso.
Lewis Hamilton was less than five hundredths down the road in the McLaren MP4-27, his 1m19.630s slightly slower than the best he managed yesterday. Romain Grosjean kept up Lotus's strong start to the year by finishing fourth fastest, with Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber claiming fifth.
Nico Hulkenberg finally got his hands on Force India's 2012 car – Jules Bianchi's crash on Thursday deprived him of a planned afternoon run – and managed 45 laps, setting the sixth fastest time.
Seventh went to Bruno Senna, who completed an impressive 97 laps in the Williams. He got down to within 1.3sec of Alonso, but then caused the second red flag of the day as he stopped out on circuit at the exit of the Senna chicane.
Jarno Trulli, the day's other newcomer over at Caterham, finished with a 1m22.214s after 53 laps. Vettel was not able to set a time.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Alonso Ferrari 1m18.877s 22
2. Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.597s +0.720 41
3. Hamilton McLaren 1m19.640s +0.763 36
4. Grosjean Lotus 1m19.729s +0.852 24
5. Kobayashi Sauber 1m19.834s +0.957 39
6. Hulkenberg Force India 1m19.977s +1.100 45
7. Senna Williams 1m20.132s +1.255 97
8. Trulli Caterham 1m22.214s +3.337 53