Nico Hulkenberg set the best time of day three of pre-season testing on Wednesday by 2.764s from Romain Grosjean as teams continued to test their 2016 machines at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Sahara Force India driver Hulkenberg set a time of 1m23.110s during the morning session in Spain on the Supersoft Pirelli tyre, with the German ending the domination of Ferrari who had topped both days one and two with Sebastian Vettel.
A Soft tyre run late in the day for Grosjean saw the Frenchman place second for the Haas F1 Team, an impressive run for the ex-Lotus driver as the team continued to progress with the development of its first ever Formula 1 car.
Grosjean’s late lap demoted Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to third, with the Finn’s day being compromised by a fuel system problem during the morning session that saw him only complete a handful of installation laps before the lunch break. Raikkonen fared better in the afternoon, completing another 74 laps and setting a best time of 1m25.977s, just 0.103s back on Grosjean.
Kevin Magnussen had his first opportunity of the week to test for his new Renault team, and unlike team-mate Jolyon Palmer on the first two days after technical issues restricted his running, the Dane was able to get a good number of laps under his belt, completing 111 laps of the Spanish circuit and setting the fourth fastest time.
Nico Rosberg shared driving duties with team-mate Lewis Hamilton on day three, with Mercedes eager to keep both drivers fresh after marathon runs during the first two days, with the German driver completing 74 laps in finishing fifth fastest and the reigning World Champion completing 88 laps in finishing eighth.
Carlos Sainz Jr caused a red flag when he stopped at the exit of the pit lane with a loose wheel following a pit stop, but the Toro Rosso driver was able to complete a day high 161 laps and finished sixth fastest, ahead of Felipe Nasr in the 2015 Sauber and Hamilton.
Daniil Kvyat had his first opportunity of the week to test the Red Bull Racing RB12, with the Russian completing 74 laps and setting the ninth fastest time of the day, ahead of Felipe Massa, who likewise had his first taste of the Williams FW38.
Jenson Button finished eleventh fastest for the McLaren-Honda team, completing 51 laps, but the Briton’s day was ended early when a hydraulic leak caused a minor fire on his MP4-31.
Bringing up the rear on his first test for the Manor Racing team was Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto, who completed 78 laps and ended up 5.139s adrift of the pace of Hulkenberg. Haryanto was the cause of a second red flag when he spun off the circuit at turn five, but was able to resume running later in the session.
Circuit de Catalunya Pre-Season Test 1 Day 3 Result
|1||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1m23.110s||99|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1m26.239s||161|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1m26.497s||74|