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Mugello day three - Grosjean ends test on a high 03 May 2012

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing talks with Guillaume Rocquelin (FRA) Red Bull Racing Race Engineer.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31 suffers a fire.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Oliver Turvey (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 test driver rear wing detail.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012

Lotus’s Romain Grosjean topped the timesheets for the second successive day, as in-season testing concluded at Mugello on Thursday. Grosjean’s lap of 1m 21.035s was a quarter of a second quicker than the best time posted by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

“Mugello puts high demands on the driver so it’s been a very good experience for me - and quite a workout!” said Grosjean. “We were conducting a specific programme of evaluating components, so to be quick relative to our opposition even when we were not looking specifically to try to top the times is satisfying. I’m happy at the progress we’ve made here in Italy and looking forward to seeing how well this translates into lap time when we get to Barcelona.”

“It’s been a useful couple of days and I’ve enjoyed the track a lot,” added Vettel. “As usual we now have a lot of data to get through and that will take some time. We tried a few things and the results look encouraging; it’s always difficult to tell whether we improved and by how much, but we got some good laps and some good information.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was third after completing 98 laps, despite an early off which necessitated over two hours of repairs for his heavily-updated F2012, which was running with aero updates and revised rear bodywork and exhaust exits.

Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo finished in fourth, ahead of Sauber’s Sergio Perez, whose day started in dramatic fashion with a small pit-lane fire on his C31. Thankfully there was no serious damage and the Mexican was able to continue with his programme of set-up work and evaluating new aero parts.

After their Wednesday problems, Force India adjusted their schedule to give Paul di Resta some more track time in the morning, before team mate Nico Hulkenberg took over the VJM05 in the afternoon. The Scot and the German were sixth and tenth fastest respectively.

“The focus this morning was on aero work and we fitted several devices to the car, which allowed us to collect the most important data to continue our assessment of the latest car developments,” said Force India’s chief engineer, Jakob Andreasen. “Later in the day we moved towards set-up work, running new sets of the medium and hard tyres and extracting performance from the car.”

Seventh quickest was Pastor Maldonado, whose Williams team had a disappointing start to their morning thanks to an electrical problem that necessitated stripping the car and cost them significant track time. The team modified their run plan accordingly and went on to successfully complete a number of aerodynamic and systems tests.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was pleased with his progress after going eighth fastest, commenting: "Today, we learned a lot about tyre management, and this should help us at the next race in Barcelona. There is still a lot of work to do of course, and we do need to improve our car in fast corners, but overall I am pleased with the progress that we have made here this week."

McLaren tester Oliver Turvey was ninth after the Woking team spent their day running through some detailed evaluative work with front wing and exhaust developments, including some rake tests for improved data gathering.

Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen was 11th, the Finn conducting a similar programme to that carried out by team mate Vitaly Petrov on Wednesday.

"We have tried a number of new parts including bodywork, floor, exhausts and some work on the brakes, some of which we expect to see on the race cars next week in Barcelona,” explained Jody Egginton, Caterham’s chief engineer.

Marussia’s Timo Glock was the day’s final runner, the German focussing on exploring Pirelli’s various tyre compounds, some engine calibration work, as well as an evaluation of the team’s new aerodynamic upgrades for the start of the European season.

With the three-day test now over, the teams will return to their bases ahead of next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

Unofficial Thursday test times from Mugello:
1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:21.035, 66 Laps
2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:21.267, 106 Laps
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:21.363, 98 Laps
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:21.604, 117 Laps
5. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:22.229, 118 Laps
6. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:22.325, 55 Laps
7. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:22.497, 63 Laps
8. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:22.579, 129 Laps
9. Oliver Turvey, McLaren, 1:22.662, 99 Laps
10. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:23.002, 34 Laps
11. Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, 1:23.169, 139 Laps
12. Timo Glock, Marussia, 1:23.466, 110 Laps

Unofficial aggregate test times from Mugello:
1. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:21.035, 163 Laps
2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:21.267, 172 Laps
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:21.363, 144 Laps
4. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:21.603, 135 Laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:21.604, 139 Laps
6. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.997, 78 Laps
7. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:22.229, 118 Laps
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:22.257, 106 Laps
9. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:22.325, 55 Laps
10. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:22.422, 97 Laps
11. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:22.497, 63 Laps
12. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:22.579, 178 Laps
13. Oliver Turvey, McLaren, 1:22.662, 129 Laps
14. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:23.002, 48 Laps
15. Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, 1:23.169, 139 Laps
16. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 1:23.404, 149 Laps
17. Timo Glock, Marussia, 1:23.466, 147 Laps
18. Charles Pic, Marussia, 1:23.982, 91 Laps
19. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Lotus, 1:24.048, 40 Laps
20. Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 1:24.312, 112 Laps
21. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:24.480, 63 Laps
22. Bruno Senna, Williams, 1:24.842, 100 Laps
23. Jules Bianchi, Force India, 1:25.475, 19 Laps
24. Rodolfo Gonzalez, Caterham, 1:27.197, 35 Laps
25. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:29.179, 28 Laps

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