Daniel Ricciardo used Pirelli’s softest tyre compound – the pink-walled hypersoft – to put Red Bull on top of the times at the midway point of Wednesday’s session.
The track remained open through lunch, allowing teams to catch up on mileage after losing time to bad weather last week.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was second quickest in the Mercedes, a fraction behind Ricciardo on the ultrasofts, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel around a second further back on the softs.
Vettel was a late addition to Wednesday’s schedule, stepping in for team mate Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn felt unwell and did not travel to the track.
The timesheets made for prettier reading for McLaren with Fernando Alonso slotting into fourth and his lap tally of 47 is reasonable considering the problems they have had so far in testing.
But the gloss was taken off when he stopped out on track. McLaren later traced the problem back to a small oil leak and opted to change the Renault engine, confining the double world champion to the garage.
Carlos Sainz said last week that he didn’t feel like testing had started yet, such was the limited running he had managed to achieve. But he made up for it on Wednesday morning, clocking up nearly 90 laps in the Renault as he ended up fifth overall.
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