Fernando Alonso went fastest on the penultimate day of Formula 1's first winter test at Barcelona.
The majority of teams dedicated the afternoon to the first full-race simulations of 2013, meaning that the morning order was largely unchanged. It also meant Alonso, who eventually worked his way down to a 1m21.875s before thee mid-day break, stayed on top for the remainder of the third day in Catalunya.
His time is the fastest seen so far at Barcelona and almost half a second quicker than the corresponding soft-compound best of 2012 winter testing at the track.
As was the case in the morning, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean occupied second and third respectively, both within four tenths of a second of Alonso's time. Grosjean was the first of the day's runners to complete a full race simulation, which included four pit stops. Thanks largely to that stint he also ended as Thursday's busiest driver with 119 laps.
Others ran long-race simulations of their own, although some were interrupted when Giedo van der Garde's Caterham stopped on the Turn 3 entry 15 minutes before the session's end. Van der Garde had been one of the afternoon's few improvers, and had just set his best time – a low 1m26s – before causing the stoppage.
Max Chilton also improved in the Marussia, while Valtteri Bottas, taking over from Pastor Maldonado in the FW35, ended the day sixth, fractions of a second behind his teammate.
Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Mark Webber and Jean-Eric Vergne occupied seventh through to 10th, just as they did at the close of the morning. Both Webber and Vergne broke into triple figures on the lap count. Sutil, meanwhile, will hand over to Force India's 2012 reserve driver Jules Bianchi, his main rival for a 2013 drive with the team, for the final day tomorrow.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.875s 97
2. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m22.160s +0.285 91
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m22.188s +0.313 119
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.611s +0.736 108
5. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m22.675s +0.800 79
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m22.826s +0.951 68
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m22.840s +0.965 71
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m22.877s +1.002 78
9. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.024s +1.149 108
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.366s +1.491 106
11. Max Chilton Marussia 1m25.690s +3.815 58
12. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m26.177s +4.302 83