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Maldonado sets the pace

Pastor Maldonado leads the way on day three at Catalunya
For the third successive day, a different driver emerged on top of the times at Catalunya after Pastor Maldonado set the pace on day three of the second pre-season F1 test.

The Venezuelan, on his first outing of the week at the wheel of Williams' FW33, set the quickest time of the week so far, with a lap of 1min 22.391secs being better than the benchmark times set by Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As has been the norm this week, Maldonado set the quickest time on a run late in the morning before teams elected to switch to longer runs on track during the course of the afternoon.

"It was a good day today, as we completed all of our planned programme with no issues," Maldonado said. "We have put more mileage on the car which is great for everyone here and back at the factory as we now have a lot more data to analyse. The car is progressing well and I feel everything is going in the right direction."

With few improvements being made during the afternoon, Maldonado ended up nearly a second ahead of the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher, with the seven-time champion back at the wheel of the W03 for his second day of testing this week.

The German had briefly led the way prior to Maldonado setting his fastest lap but then spent the afternoon running through a long stint to put more mileage on the new car.

In total, Schumacher managed just under 130 laps – more than any other driver on track.

Kamui Kobayashi was third fastest for Sauber on his first appearance of the week, having taken over the C31 from team-mate Sergio Perez. The Japanese driver caused one of a number of brief red flag periods when he stopped shortly before lunch while on an out-of-fuel run.

Jenson Button was fourth for McLaren and the last driver to get within two seconds of the time set by Maldonado, with Jean-Eric Vergne fifth for Toro Rosso; the young Frenchman another driver having his first outing of the week.

“It's good to be back in the car after Jerez," he said. "We got through a lot of work today, including some aero evaluation and different set-ups. We ran all day long on the Medium tyres, which gives us a good baseline to analyse the data. We are learning more about our new car with every lap and it has performed well on this Barcelona track which is always a true test of how a car is performing.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
08.02.2012 Jerez, Spain, Pastor Maldonado (VEN), Williams F1 Team   - Formula 1 Testing, day 1 - Formula 1 World Championship
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David - Unregistered

February 23, 2012 7:33 PM

Richard, I doubt very much you know the inner workings of F1. Juvenile one liners of yours aimed at someone like Mike Coughlan bought in to turn a great team like Williams around are out of place and relegates you to the depths of this forum that so often pollute it


February 23, 2012 11:00 PM

"and i worked with adrian newey, and i worked with rory byrne, and i worked with colin chapman etc etc" Making the tea doesn't really count as having worked with someone :p

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