JEREZ, Spain – Felipe Massa topped the timesheets on day three of pre-season Formula One testing in Spain.
The Ferrari driver’s best lap, recorded before lunch, was the quickest that anyone has managed around Jerez this week.
The Brazilian, who will hand the F138 over to new Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa tomorrow, completed 85 laps today to add to the 142 he accumulated over the first two days of running.
Massa spent the first part of the day comparing the various Pirelli tyre compounds and then did long runs in the afternoon.
Mercedes, who were been plagued by mechanical problems on the first two days of the test, were on track nearly all day with Nico Rosberg completing an impressive 148 laps in the F1 W04. His best time was good enough for second place overall.
Making his first appearance behind the wheel this year was reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel. The German recorded 101 laps in a reliable-looking Red Bull RB9 – one more than team mate Mark Webber managed yesterday.
Also taking to the track for the first time in 2013 was Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen. After acclimatising himself to the E21 in the morning, the Finn set his fastest lap of the day in the afternoon before a clutch problem halted progress.
Marginally slower than Raikkonen was Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who took over the STR8 from Daniel Ricciardo today.
The sixth-fastest time went to Force India test driver James Rossiter who is familiarising himself with the VJM06 to help with his simulator duties for the team. The Briton provided one of the most eventful moments of the day in the morning when he misjudged his braking point coming into the pits and accidentally hit one of his mechanics. Thankfully the mechanic was only bruised in the incident.
Paul di Resta took over for Force India in the afternoon, but his running was cut short by an exhaust failure after just seven laps.
Jenson Button – quickest on the first day for McLaren – was seventh quickest, whilst Esteban Gutierrez – making his debut for Sauber – was eighth.
Max Chilton recorded Marussia’s quickest time of the week late in the afternoon for ninth, with Valtteri Bottas (in last year’s Williams FW34) and Charles Pic (in Caterham’s CT03) recording the tenth- and 11th-fastest laps of the day on their maiden outings of 2013.