Barcelona F1 test: Alonso leads the way on day three

Fernando Alonso went fastest on the penultimate day of Formula 1's first winter test at Barcelona

Barcelona F1 test: Alonso leads the way on day three

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 lunch, 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 pitstops.

Thanks largely to that stint he also ended as Thursday's busiest driver on 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 team-mate.

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.

TODAY'S TIMES Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps Tyre 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.875s 97 Soft
2. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m22.160s +0.285 91 Soft
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m22.188s +0.313 119 Medium
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.611s +0.736 108 Soft
5. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m22.675s +0.800 79 Soft
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m22.826s +0.951 68 Hard
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m22.840s +0.965 71 Soft
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m22.877s +1.002 78 Soft
9. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.024s +1.149 108 Medium
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.366s +1.491 106 Soft
11. Max Chilton Marussia 1m25.690s +3.815 58 Soft
12. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m26.177s +4.302 93 Soft

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Barcelona F1 test: Alonso sets early day-three pace

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Author Sam Tremayne
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