Kimi Raikkonen put in a dominant performance in Bahrain to raise his Ferrari to the top of the unofficial timesheet after the weather-disrupted test there resumed.
With a fastest lap of 1:33.325 in the bag, the Finn said he was feeling “extremely positive” about his new car, slated to correct understeer issues which were thought to have blighted his 2008 season.
Hot on his heels, however, was Toyota veteran Jarno Trulli, on 1:33.429 with a car that is already raising questions over whether 2009 could be the team’s breakthrough year.
Bringing up the rear was BMW Sauber tester Christian Klien on his first outing in the F1.09 with a time of 1:33.666.
Meanwhile, on a fine day in Jerez, Fernando Alonso managed to raise his game to bring himself within two-tenths of a second of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren.
As has happened all winter the interim Toro Rosso, today driven by Sebastien Bourdais, was the fastest car on the track – around a second and a half faster than Hamilton in the MP4-24 who clocked 1:19.632
Renault had so far booked a place towards the bottom of the timesheet but today Fernando Alonso seemed to have found the secret of wringing a bit more performance out of it, finding a fastest lap of 1:19.846.
In fourth place was Williams’ Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:21.217 on limited running and in fifth was Red Bull’s injured Mark Webber, in his second track session since he broke his leg in an mountain-biking accident, on 1:21.313.
Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima set no time after using the session to practice pitstops.
McLaren said the day marked “the conclusion of a highly productive second test for the MP4-24. While the opening day was briefly marred by a midday rainshower, the remainder of the programme was carried out under clear blue skies and warm sunshine, allowing the team to put some serious mileage on the new car.
“The majority of the four days was spent finessing the new car’s balance and set-up on slick tyres while also putting background miles on the KERS device – which proved largely trouble-free during all four days.
“The team carried out the majority of its running using a hybrid-spec 2008 rear wing in order to more effectively simulate expected downforce loads and will bring a raft of new components to next month’s test, back in Jerez.”
Bahrain test times day three
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:33.325 (105 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 1:33.429 (127 laps)
- Christian Klien, BMW Sauber: 1:33.666 (125 laps)
Jerez test times day three
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:17.472 (117 laps)
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:19.632 (94 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:19.846 (109 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:21.217 (70 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:21.313 (92 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: No time set