GPl Archives 27 February 2013 Issue #59 - Page 134

F ernando Alonso ended his three day stint at the wheel of the Ferrari F138 by topping the timing screens at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona with a time of 1:21.875 and 97 laps to his credit, with Nico Hulkenberg second quickest in the Sauber as Ferrari powered cars hogged the top two spots at the end of the day. Alonso, who missed out on Jerez testing, made up for lost time by racking up 283 laps over the course of the three days, and pretty much catching up on the mileage clocked by his rivals. His fastest time was set before lunch, and with most teams opting to run their drivers in race simulation mode in the afternoon, the time – set on Pirelli soft tyres – remained unbeaten until the end of the day. The Spaniard’s best was a fraction slower than Sergio Perez’s best 24 hours earlier. Alonso told BBC afterwards, “We concentrated on a comparison of the (tyre) compounds, starting with the soft and moving on to the hard in the afternoon. We tried various aerodynamic configurations and for the first time, we made some set-up changes to get a good understanding of tyre behaviour and degradation.” “With every change we made, the car reacted as I expected and it was useful to try out the different settings, especially to understand which direction we need to go in next week, when there will be a greater emphasis on performance. “Once again this year, the tyres will be one of the crucial aspects to manage: they are softer and quicker, but also less consistent and they degrade rapidly with every lap. We will have a lot of work to do to understand how best to balance the car, but that applies to all the teams,” concluded the Spaniard.