Grosjean overcame last week's chassis issues
After suffering chassis issues at the last test, Lotus returned in fine form, with Romain Grosjean leading the first day of the final test in Barcelona.
Despite most drivers continuing to focus on long-fuelled runs, the timesheets were much closer at the top – the top 8 were covered by less than a second.
Lotus were forced to strengthen their front suspension after the chassis problems last week, adding 1kg in core weight. However, the solution hasn’t slowed the E20, with Grosjean setting a 1:23.252. Jenson Button was two tenths further back.
Sergio Perez ran out of fuel at the end of his run, but was still 3rd. Mark Webber spent most of the day on prime long-fuel runs, setting a 1:23.820 later in the afternoon, going 4th. Nico Rosberg set 128 laps en route to 5th.
Heikki Kovalainen did not take part in today’s test after falling ill with food poisoning. Vitaly Petrov took his place, setting 123 laps, but stopped out on track during the day.
Williams had another disappointing day, with Pastor Maldonado last, setting only 58 laps. Onlookers at the Circuit de Catalunya have continually reported seeing the FW34 suffer from chronic understeer around the circuit.
Times from Barcelona day 1:
1. Romain Grosjean Lotus E20 1:23.252 73 Laps
2. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-27 1:23.510 64 Laps +0.258
3. Sergio Perez Sauber C31 1:23.820 118 Laps +0.568
4. Mark Webber Red Bull RB8 1:23.830 102 Laps +0.578
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W03 1:23.992 128 Laps +0.740
6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR7 1:24.216 113 Laps +0.964
7. Paul di Resta Force India VJM05 1:24.305 98 Laps +1.053
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari F2012 1:24.318 105 Laps +1.066
9. Vitaly Petrov Caterham CT-01 1:24.876 123 Laps +1.624
10. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW34 1:25.587 58 Laps +2.335