Felipe Massa and Ferrari have put their hands up with the fastest time of the test session and they did it at 1.17.879 on day 3 of testing at Jerez. He is the first driver to dip below the 1.18s mark, but with the track rubbering in, we can expect the time to be improved on day 4.
Massa set the time on the first lap of a 6 lap run, so theoretically the Brazilian had another 6/10th’s in the bag. This was the first evolution of the F138 with new parts having arrived from Maranello. Massa had tried on a new floor with a new exhaust system and let it rip around Jerez on the soft compound tyres to beat Romain Grosjean’s 1.18+ of the previous day. This does not mean that the overheating issues have been sorted and we will have to wait and see if they show up again, though the Ferrari was spotted with additional vents on the engine cover to aid cooling. Their long run pace also looks pretty decent with evidence of tire degradation on the abrasive Jerez tarmac proving to be better than that of the Mercedes or Mclaren.
Nico Rosberg and Mercedes had a full day as they notched up 148 laps and almost 2 race distances in an attempt to catch up for the time lost due to issues on day 1 and 2. They put up a good enough time of 1.18.766 to end up just 3/10th’s ahead of triple world champion Sebastian Vettel who put in 102 laps on his firs day in the car.
Gary Anderson of BBC said that the Red Bull looks at the moment a bit like a “one-line car, that is, if the driver misses his turn-in point, there is not enough front-end grip to get it back on line.” But they also did have the best lap time average, showing good race pace around the spanish circuit.
Kimi on his first day in the E21 spent most of the morning doing constant speed aero runs, and a final few short fuel runs helped him end up with the fourth best time of the day. Right behind the Iceman was Jean-Eric in the Toro Rosso followed by James Rossiter who collected one of his mechanics on the way into his pit box. The mechanic was uninjured, but once Di Resta took over the Force India he was hit by exhaust trouble which meant he only finished last on the sheets for day 4. Jenson was on a long run program with heavy fuel loads to compare the tyre degradation between compounds.
Following the Mclaren were the 3 newbies Gutierrez, Chilton and Bottas with Charles Pic finishing just ahead of Paul Di Resta.
JEREZ TEST DAY 3
1. Felipe Massa – Ferrari 1m17.879s 85 Laps
2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes 1m18.766s +0.887 148
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m19.052s +1.173 102
4. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus 1m19.200s +1.321 40
5. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso 1m19.247s +1.368 85
6. James Rossiter – Force India 1m19.303s +1.424 42
7. Jenson Button – McLaren 1m19.603s +1.724 83
8. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber 1m19.934s +2.055 110
9. Max Chilton – Marussia 1m21.269s +3.390 78
10. Valtteri Bottas – Williams 1m21.575s +3.696 86
11. Charles Pic – Caterham 1m22.352s +4.473 57
12. Paul di Resta – Force India 1m23.729s +5.850 7