Maldonado returns to the top on day three in Barcelona

Pastor Maldonado returned to the top of the times on day three in Barcelona. Having gone fastest on day one, Maldonado handed the car over to test driver Jolyon Palmer yesterday before returning to action today.

Maldonado’s lap-time was seven tenths faster than his attempt on day one and came in the afternoon session, beating Max Verstappen’s earlier best time. Both lap-times were set on the super soft tyres. Verstappen completed 129 laps for Toro Rosso on a productive day of running. Lewis Hamilton was back in action for Mercedes and he completed 101 laps despite still not feeling 100%. The reigning world champion was forced to pull out of the first day of testing due to suffering from a fever. Marcus Ericsson overcame a lengthy delay caused by a gearbox problem to set the fourth fastest lap of the day. His effort was on the soft tyre.

Despite an early trip into the gravel, after misjudging the grip on cold tyres, Sebastian Vettel completed over 100 laps and set the fifth fastest lap of the day. Over at Williams the running was split between Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Massa completed 55 laps and set the seventh fastest time before handing over to Bottas in the afternoon. Bottas in turn completed 49 laps and set the ninth fastest time. The Williams team were concentrating on pit-stop practice during the day. Daniil Kvyat was working on race simulations for Red Bull – as Daniel Ricciardo did yesterday – and he also completed over 100 laps. Pascal Wehrlein was back running for Force India – after an afternoon with Mercedes on Thursday – on his last day of action in Barcelona. He completed 81 laps.

McLaren suffered a re-occurrence of the MGU-K problem which limited their running on Thursday. They are due to fit a “re-engineered” solution for tomorrow in the hopes that it will allow them to get more running. Jenson Button was in action for the team today and completed just 24 laps and also brought out a red flag when he stopped on track. He will hand over the car tomorrow to Fernando Alonso for the fourth and final day of this first pre-season test in Barcelona.

The times after the third day of running:

  1. Pastor Maldonado – 1:24.348 – 104 laps
  2. Max Verstappen – 1:24.739 – 129 laps
  3. Lewis Hamilton – 1:26.076 – 101 laps
  4. Marcus Ericsson – 1:26.340 – 53 laps
  5. Sebastian Vettel – 1:26.407 – 105 laps
  6. Daniil Kvyat – 1:26.589 – 112 laps
  7. Felipe Massa – 1:26.912 – 55 laps
  8. Pascal Wehrlein – 1:27.333 – 81 laps
  9. Valtteri Bottas – 1:27.556 – 49 laps
  10. Jenson Button – 1:29.151 – 24 laps

The second pre-season test concludes tomorrow.

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