Lap times may be six seconds slower than last year at Jerez but at least Formula One cars are now lapping faster than GP2s, something they did not accomplish in the first two days of testing.
Leading the times is Mclaren's Kevin Magnussen. You get the sense that, never having driven a previous generation F1 car and having to "un-learn", can actually be an advantage. I'm sure that was part of the math in Mclaren's decision with the rookie.
Mercedes engined cars had no major issues, Renault powered ones did. In particular, Red Bull had serious overheating issues and managed to turn exactly 3 laps.
There are reports of, pardon the pun, heated words between Adrian Newey and Renault's Rob White in the paddock, just before all of Red Bull's top brass, Newey, Horner, Marko and Dieter Mateschitz left Jerez, presumably in a huff.
Heat management, as predicted, is already a thread to follow in 2014. Mclaren have more room under the bodywork for cooling, Red Bull at the other extreme have the tightest packaging possible.
Ferrari seems to be somewhat in the middle and I think we can now safely presume that LaFerrari test mule really was all about testing cooling solutions. Even so, Alonso was 2 seconds off Mclaren and Williams' pace (cue "Fernando, Felipe is faster than you " jokes).
Red Bull and Renault have a busy night ahead of the last session tomorrow. Certainly the Renault engine did not sound perfectly happy in the video clip below (thanks Mike Humphrey!).
Check out the warbling sound coming from the Toro Rosso as it accelerates down the main straight.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.276s 52 2. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m23.700s +0.424s 47 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.952s +0.676s 62 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.030s +1.754s 40 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.495s +2.219s 58 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.096s +2.820s 17 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m29.915s +6.639s 30 8. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.161s +6.885s 34 9. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault No time - 10 10. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault No time - 3 11. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari No time - 5