Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber blitzed the pack at Jerez today in Spain, as the latest F1 group test moved into its penultimate day.
Webber managed 115 laps in total and his best lap was a 1 minute 19.299 seconds, more than eight tenths up on his closest rival. Indeed the Aussie was the only runner to break the 1m 19s barrier – and it surpassed the previous best set by Lewis Hamilton at the 4.423 kilometre circuit last Saturday (a 1m 19.583s).
In contrast to Wednesday and Thursday, it remained dry and sunny today and while it was damp early on, by around 11 am most drivers could switch to dry tyres.
Speaking at the end of the day Webber was pleased, even if a small mechanical issue did cost him around two hours of running this afternoon.
“We're certainly showing some good form in terms of reliability, but we always need to work on performance; you never know that the other teams are doing,” Webber stated. “We're in a good position at the moment to build up to the first race – it's close, but there's also quite a way to go, as other teams have no doubt planned developments for Bahrain. We're doing the work we need to do, in order to understand the car more.”
“It's good to finally get some dry conditions and complete some proper runs on dry tyres, which we've done very little of with this car so far,” added Red Bull's head of race engineering, Ian Morgan. “We did 115 laps today, which is pretty good. Things look promising.”
Fernando Alonso meanwhile was second and 'best of the rest' for Ferrari. The Spaniard took over from Felipe Massa and in total did 132 tours, his quickest a 1m 20.115s. He spent the day working on set-up and comparing car and tyre behaviour in a variety of race situations.
Jenson Button was next up, and while he was quickest for much of the day, he slipped down to third on the unofficial timesheets during the afternoon.
“Jenson was able to spend the majority of the day pursuing a consistent path with mechanical set-up development, despite the presence in the afternoon of an increasingly blustery wind,” McLaren stated in their end of day report.