It's snow joke: Alonso fastest as teams lose out to the weather

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL33. 28.02.2018. Formula One Testing, Day Three
© XPB 

The third day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya proved to be an almost total washout.

Only one driver set a time all day. Fernando Alonso succeeded in capturing the top of the timing screens for McLaren, after running more laps than everyone else combined.

Teams had arrived first thing in the morning to find the track freezing cold and covered with snow and slush. However it was a problem with the medical helicopters being grounded that prevented the session getting underway on time.

The track finally went green three hours late, at mid-day local time. However this coincided with a shift from snow to heavy rain, meaning most drivers opted to stay in the garage.

Fernando Alonso was first to venture out in the McLaren an hour later. He completed one lap on full wet tyres before returning to the haven of pit lane.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was next to try a lap half an hour later, but he also made a rapid return to the garage. Marcus Ericsson then completed an installation lap in the Sauber shortly after 2pm. That was followed by an encore performance from Ricciardo, who suffered a brief excursion into the wet gravel for his troubles.

It was more than an hour before the next sighting of a car on the track, which turned out to be the FW41 with Robert Kubica at the wheel for a single lap. Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley did likewise at 4pm.

As spare parts are scarce this early in the year, there were no driver heroics from anyone. Teams were largely relieved to get their cars back in one piece.

With an hour to go before the end of the day, five drivers had completed a grand total of six laps. Rain then started picking up in intensity once again, but that didn't discourage Alonso from delighting his Spanish fans by coming back out.

He ended up putting in a further ten laps, making the MCL33 the hardest working car of the day by far. His completed lap of 2:18.545s was the best of the day, albeit nearly a minute off Tuesday's dry weather times.

Hopes that this would herald a sudden rush of last-minute action were swiftly dashed. Alonso's foray proved the final flourish of the day.

Earlier there had been talks about organising an extra day of testing to replace time lost on Wednesday. However, two teams reportedly blocked the proposal, which under FIA regulations requires unanimous agreement.

Teams are hopeful that conditions will be better on Thursday for the final day of this week's pre-season test.

The track is due to go green at 9am local time, and there will be live coverage of all the day's action here on F1i

There will also be a further four-day test session for teams next week, also at Barcelona.

Pre-season test Day 3 - Final

Pos Driver Team Time Laps Tyre
1  Alonso  McLaren 2:18.545 11 W
2  Ricciardo  Red Bull 2 W
3  Hartley  Toro Rosso 2 W
4  Kubica  Williams 1 W
5  Ericsson  Sauber 1 W
6  Hamilton  Mercedes 0
7  Räikkönen  Ferrari 0
8  Pérez  Force India 0
9  Hülkenberg  Renault 0
10  Grosjean  Haas 0

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