Rubens Barrichello set the pace today at Jerez in Spain, although once again poor weather continued to affect the action with frequent heavy rain showers and strong winds disrupting preparations for F1 2010.
Barrichello completed almost 100 tours, the most of anyone runner, in his Cosworth-powered Williams FW32. The Brazilian's best lap was a 1 minute 27.145 seconds, which was around seven tenths up on his closest rival. He spent the day focusing on set-up work and systems checks.
"Rubens finished off another wet day in Jerez having covered a lot of mileage for reliability," summarised Williams technical director, Sam Michael. "He also completed some systems checks and carried out a programme of pit stop practice. All the pit stops were done under wet conditions and we're working on some refinements for tomorrow."
Vitaly Petrov meanwhile was second and 'best of the rest' for Renault. He did 56 laps in total and despite once again not getting any dry running, he remained upbeat.
"It was cold and wet once again today, but we still did some useful work in the wet conditions and practiced pit stops, which is good experience for me," he said. "I'm now hoping that the final test in Barcelona will give us better weather so I can do some dry running before we arrive in Bahrain."
"It was another frustrating day with the changeable weather, but we made the most of it to run both the wet and intermediate tyres," added Renault's chief engineer, Alan Permane. "In the afternoon, when the track was damp, we chose to carry out some procedural work, including practicing some pit stops. Overall Vitaly was quite happy with the car and showed good pace today."
Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest on Wednesday, came in third for Red Bull Racing – three tenths off Petrov. He had hoped to do some more aero-testing and set-up work, but 'Mother Nature' had other ideas. The German thus ended up using full-wet tyres in the morning and wet and intermediate tyres in the afternoon. He completed 71 laps.
"Generally, the feeling with the car is good. The weather has been pretty bad over the last couple of days, which meant we couldn't do a lot of our planned testing, although it's been the same for everyone," Vettel stated. "It's a shame, as this is one of our three pre-season tests and last week the weather was quite bad also – it seems that Spain is not so happy to have us here!
"Nevertheless, we have still got some important work done and the car has been reliable; we didn't have any problems. Hopefully we will have better weather in Barcelona next week and conditions will improve here for Mark [Webber] over the next couple of days."