Grosjean quickest on final day as Alonso crashes out

Lotus driver fastest on supersofts. Alonso given all clear after being airlifted to hospital following Turn Three crash.

As the second pre-season Formula One test came to a close in Barcelona, Romain Grosjean secured bragging rights for Lotus by recording the fastest time of the week. However, while the Frenchman grabbed top sot, the bigger stories involved a crash for Fernando Alonso that led to the Spaniard airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks and Mercedes revealing some alarming pace in the late afternoon.

Alonso’s crash came three and half hours into the test when the Spaniard appeared to lose control in Turn Three. The right side of his McLaren struck the wall and he was taken to the circuit medical centre where he was reported to be conscious and talking. As a precaution he was then airlifted to a local hospital where following an afternoon CT scan he was given a clean bill of health.

It looked likely that Jenson Button would take over from Alonso at the wheel of the McLaren Honda in the afternoon but with an hour left in the session the team revealed it was calling a halt to running at this test.

As with team-mate Maldonado yesterday, Grosjean set his table-topping time on Pirelli’s supersoft tyres, the Frenchman clocking a time of 1:24.067 late in the afternoon. The glory-hunting run put the seal on a good day for the team as it worked a solid programme of long and short runs, with Grosjean getting through 111 laps.

But while the Frenchman occupied P1 it was the time set by Nico Rosberg to claim second spot that was more noteworthy. After again concentrating on long runs for much of the day, Rosberg eventually put his foot down and closed to within three tenths of Grosjean’s supersoft time. That Rosberg achieved the lap time on medium tyres, which are reckoned to be 1.5-2s slower than the grippy but fragile supersofts reveals much about the advantage Mercedes are likely to carry into the early season races.

It was another good day for Red Bull Racing too. After a morning of aero mapping work and medium runs, Kvyat bolted on a soft tyres in the afternoon in order to get a feel for the potential of the RB11 and his time of 1:24.941 was good enough for third on the timesheet.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr finished the day in fourth spot, despite being restricted to the garage for long periods in the morning due to unspecified problems. The Brazilian didn’t set a time in the morning but eventually managed to get through 73 laps. His running came to an end just before the chequered flag when he ground to a halt at Turn Six brining out the final red flag of the day.

Williams again defied analysis, with Valtteri Bottas powering through 127 laps of the circuit but never once chasing a representative lap time.

The Finn finished the day in fifth place, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr, who also brought out the red flags when he crashed out at Tunr Three, an off team boss Franz Tost suggested might have been brought about in part by the high winds at the track today.

Seventh place was occupied by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The German completed 74 laps but his day included a two and half hour stay in the garage during the afternoon, though no explanation was given for the track absence.

Nico Hulkenberg was eighth quickest for Force India, though his running came to an end midway through the afternoon session when the power unit of his VJM07 failed. Alonso was ninth for McLaren.

Barcelona Test - Day Four1 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:24.067s 111 laps2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.321s 0.254s 1293 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:24.941s 0.874s 1024 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.956 0.889s 735 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.345s 1.278s 1276 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:25.604s 1.537s 887 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.312s 2.245s 748 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.591s 2.524s 369 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:27.956s 3.889s 20


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