Toro Rosso has continued an impressive week of running with the new STR5 by topping the times on the third day of F1 testing at Jerez.
Sebastien Buemi had been second on the first two days of running in Spain before handing the car over to team-mate Jaime Alguersuari for day three, which was again affected by wet conditions.
The day dawned dry however and Alguersuari took advantage to post his quickest time of 1min 19.919secs early on before the rain arrived, with conditions gradually worsening and forcing a number of teams to end their programmes early.
Once the rain arrived, Alguersuari turned his focus to running on the 2010 wet weather tyres, running firstly on intermediate tyres before switching to extreme wets. However, the team elected to end its running 45 minutes before the scheduled finish due to the worsening conditions.
Pedro de la Rosa was second quickest for Sauber, despite causing a red flag early in the day with the team happy with the work carried out on the new C29.
“In the morning at about ten past ten it started drizzling and then we had some light rain until 2 pm,” head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall'Ara said. “Until a quarter past four we were testing but then we stopped when the rain became too heavy as there was no need to risk anything. In the morning we skipped our usual installation lap and went straight into the programme. We managed to do a baseline run in the dry and later focused on balancing the car in the wet. We scanned different set-ups and worked on the brake system. Pedro's comments on the car were quite positive in the wet. Nevertheless we certainly hope for better and dry track conditions tomorrow.”
Adrian Sutil was third quickest for Force India as he took over from Tonio Liuzzi at the wheel of the VJM03, with the German managing 48 laps before an electrical fault forced him to curtail his running 90 minutes from the end.
“This morning it was nice to have some dry running,” he said. “The car is good and I think it's a positive place to start. I'm very confident on the general speed of the car. Unfortunately the rain came in quite early and then it was really waiting for reasonable conditions to go out. We had a problem in the afternoon that caused us to miss a bit of track time, but considering it was so wet it would have been very difficult to get a lot of running in anyway. I'm pleased to at least have had some dry running and some more time in the car and am looking forward to getting started again tomorrow.”
Felipe Massa was fifth quickest for Ferrari as he took over from Fernando Alonso, while the fifth quickest time went to Sebastian Vettel, although he spent much of the afternoon watching from the sidelines due to the conditions. Vitaly Petrov returned to the wheel of the Renault R30 and – putting the speculation surrounding his drive to one side – posted the sixth quickest time.