Fernando Alonso is fastest for Ferrari as Jerez F1 test comes to an end

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the day - and the second best by a 2012 car across all four days - as Ferrari ended the pre-season test at Jerez on a positive note

Fernando Alonso is fastest for Ferrari as Jerez F1 test comes to an end

The Scuderia had struggled to get on top of the radical F2012 during the first three days but, with Alonso at the helm, it rose to the top of the timesheets early on in day four and was never displaced.

Alonso ended with a best of 1m18.877s, set at the start of a six-lap run which also included laps in the 1m19s and 1m20s. It was enough to put him seven tenths clear of the day four field, with only Romain Grosjean on the previous day able to go faster in this year's new breed of cars.

Alonso was, however, only able to set two timed laps after 11.00 CET as Ferrari grappled with a hydraulic issue that restricted its afternoon programme.

Jean-Eric Vergne hung on to second despite a late rally from Sebastian Vettel in the RB8, which had been beset by electrical issues in the morning.

Vergne finished his second day for Toro Rosso with a 1m19.597s, nine thousandths quicker than Vettel's benchmark, set in the afternoon when conditions were not at their prime.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, just 34 thousandths of a second down the road in McLaren's MP4-27.

Romain Grosjean did not get down to his day three benchmark, but did enough to end the day in fifth with a 1m19.729s.

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, taking over from Sergio Perez for the final day, sealed sixth with a 1m19.834s. A hydraulic leak on the C31 brought about one of several short red flag periods, although the team was able to repair the car and return to the track before the day's end.

Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna and Jarno Trulli rounded out the day's running order.

Hulkenberg, getting his first taste of the new Force India after a planned run on Thursday afternoon was scuppered by Jules Bianchi's crash, completed 90 laps and was the last driver to break the 1m20s barrier.

Senna managed an impressive 124 laps on his way to eighth fastest. The Brazilian's day included 25 and 37-lap stints, and also featured a stoppage on track from which he and the car were quickly recovered.

Trulli, the day's other newcomer over at Caterham, completed 117 laps and finished with a best of 1m22.198s, just over three seconds down on Alonso.

TODAY'S TIMES

Pos  Driver         Team            Time                Laps
 1.  Alonso         Ferrari         1m18.877s           39
 2.  Vergne         Toro Rosso      1m19.597s  +0.720   80
 3.  Vettel         Red Bull        1m19.606s  +0.729   50
 4.  Hamilton       McLaren         1m19.640s  +0.763   86
 5.  Grosjean       Lotus           1m19.729s  +0.852   95
 6.  Kobayashi      Sauber          1m19.834s  +0.957   76
 7.  Hulkenberg     Force India     1m19.977s  +1.100   90
 8.  Senna          Williams        1m20.132s  +1.255   125
 9.  Trulli         Caterham        1m22.198s  +3.321   117
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