Formula 1 Testing: Times from Day 3 at Mugello
The third and final day of Formula 1 testing at Mugello got underway on Thursday morning.
Temperatures were a little down on the day before, and the skies were overcast as the first cars rolled out of the garages at 9:00am.
The biggest story of the day was Ferrari testing the first parts of a large upgrade package being planned for the Spanish Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso's car was fitted with (what the team hopes is) improved rear bodywork and a new exhaust layout.
The Spaniard damaged the car during a visit to a gravel trap after barely an hour of running, but the team fixed the problem and Alonso was back out in the afternoon.
McLaren again handed the car to a reserve driver, this time Oliver Turvey. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button stayed away all week, making the Woking-based outfit the only team to not bring a race driver to the test.
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Paul di Resta (Force India), Timo Glock (Marussia) and Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) continued where they left off on Wednesday.
Alonso (Ferrari), Turvey (McLaren) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) returned after running on Tuesday, while Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) and Sergio Perez (Sauber) got their first taste of the action.
The fastest time of the day was again set by Grosjean, his 1:21.035 proving to be the best lap of the week, pipping Sebastian Vettel's best of 1:21.267.
The full time sheet was as follows:
|02||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:21.267|
|04||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1:21.604|
|06||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:22.325|
|10||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:23.002|
Force India managed an almost trouble-free day, finally putting in some miles despite di Resta's off in the morning.
Kimi Raikkonen was originally pencilled in to drive the Lotus, but the poor weather on day one prompted a change of plans. The Finn has always come across as a man content to simply turn up at the race weekends and drive, so it's unlikely he'll have been too disappointed.
Kovalainen was Thursday's distance king, doing a total of 139 laps.
Most of the drivers appear to have enjoyed the opportunity to drive around the quick, undulating and character-filled circuit, with Mark Webber tweeting that 10 laps around Mugello was equal to 1000 laps around Abu Dhabi in terms of satisfaction.
Vitaly Petrov claimed the track was too dangerous for F1 testing, due to the narrow nature of the venue and small run-off areas.
However, the Russian appears to have been in a minority. Whether or not F1 will return remains to be seen, but almost everyone will leave Mugello having enjoyed the week.
The next F1 action is the Spanish Grand Prix, taking place from 11th-13th May. Testing times are always interesting to look at, but it'll be in Spain that we'll find out who has gained the most from the three days in Italy.
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