Massa fastest on Day 3 in Jerez

Felipe Massa, Ferrari F138, Jerez

Felipe Massa seems a lot happier with life in 2013 after using his new F138 to set the fastest time so far this week in Jerez overnight. Running soft compound tyres for the first time Massa set his time of 1:17.879 in the morning session. So far he’s the only driver to break the 1:18 barrier.

In what can be described as a much happier pre-season for Ferrari, Massa understands that getting off to a good start can set the tone for the year ahead. “These were three very important days,” Felipe said. “They were especially useful in the sense of finding the right direction for the team to focus on when it come to the development work between now and the opening round in Australia.”

However, Massa knows that pre-season times don’t count for much. “The quick lap? It means nothing,” he said. “While I’m pleased to have done a good time, that was not the priority: we must still concentrate on the car set-up and we will definitely be doing this during the next test in Barcelona. Several teams have very quick and well balanced cars and so I am one hundred percent keeping my feet on the ground.”

There would have been smiles at Mercedes, too, with Nico Rosberg second quickest (1:18.766), but more importantly able to complete 148 laps in the F1 W04, 38 more than any other driver.

Sebastian Vettel’s first day out for Red Bull in the RB9 was fruitful, racking up 102 laps and setting the third fastest lap (1:19.052).

In the Lotus garage Kimi Raikkonen got his first taste of the E21. He only registered 40 laps, but was only a couple of tenths off Vettel’s time (1.19.200).

After three days in Jerez, with only one more to go, there’s been three different teams topping the time sheets: McLaren, Lotus and Ferrari. It would appear that defending champion Red Bull has been content to let other take the limelight. Foxing perhaps? A bit too early to say, but the talk coming from their garage is very positive.

2013 F1 pre-season testing – Jerez (Day 3)

  1. Felipe Massa Ferrari – 1:17.879 (85 laps)
  2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes – 1:18.766 +0.887 (148 laps)
  3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull – 1:19.052 +1.173 (102 laps)
  4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus – 1:19.200 +1.321 (40 laps)
  5. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 1:19.247 +1.368 (85 laps)
  6. James Rossiter Force India – 1:19.303 +1.424 (42 laps)
  7. Jenson Button McLaren – 1:19.603 +1.724 (83 laps)
  8. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – 1:19.934 +2.055 (110 laps)
  9. Max Chilton Marussia – 1:21.269 +3.390 (78 laps)
  10. Valtteri Bottas Williams – 1:21.575 +3.696 (86 laps)*
  11. Charles Pic Caterham – 1:22.352 +4.473 (57 laps)
  12. Paul di Resta Force India – 1:23.729 +5.850 (7 laps)

All timing unofficial
*2012 car