Grosjean puts Lotus top again following Alonso crash

© XPB 

Romain Grosjean ensured Lotus was fastest on three out of four days during the second test at Barcelona, but the final day was marred by a crash for Fernando Alonso.

Alonso hit the wall on the inside of the track between turns 3 and 4, with the car only sustaining relatively light damage. However, Alonso was first taken to the circuit medical centre before he was airlifted to hospital for what McLaren said were “precautionary checks”. The team later announced that a CT scan had shown Alonso to be “uninjured”.

The incident for Alonso brought the morning session - topped by Carlos Sainz Jr - to a premature end and ultimately ended McLaren’s running for the test. It was also one of a number of red flags on the final day, with no fewer than six stoppages from six different cars.

With so many stoppages interrupting long runs, there were a number of improvements in the afternoon session, with Grosjean topping the times courtesy of a 1:24.067. However, Grosjean’s time was set on the supersoft tyre, with his lap 0.3s quicker than team-mate Pastor Maldonado’s pace-setting supersoft effort on Saturday.

Mercedes finally revealed some of its true potential as Nico Rosberg set the second fastest time of the day - and the week - with a 1:24.321. While unspectacular in isolation, the fact that Rosberg set the time on the medium compound tyre hints at the pace of the W06. The 2014 drivers’ championship runner-up didn’t enjoy a faultless morning, however, spinning off in to the gravel at Turn 5 to cause the first red flag of the day.

Daniil Kvyat was third fastest for Red Bull, with the top three cars all exceeding 100 laps despite the numerous red flags. Kvyat’s best time was over 0.8s off Grosjean’s pace and came on a soft tyre lap, with Red Bull reaching three figures on three consecutive days as it starts to show encouraging reliability.

Fourth was Felipe Nasr in the Sauber, who was another driver to try out the supersoft tyre. Nasr missed the whole morning session after stopping at the pit lane entry on only his third lap, but recovered to complete a further 70 laps in the afternoon before causing the final red flag of the day by stopping at Turn 6 due to what looked like a fuel run-out test.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams after spending most of the day at the bottom of the timesheets. Bottas was running on the hard compound tyre and completing long runs, but late in the day opted to switch to the softs and posted a 1:25.345. The Williams also stopped on track in the afternoon, with a system reset issue causing Bottas to pull over at Turn 4.

The red flag for Bottas came immediately after a crash for Sainz Jr. The Toro Rosso rookie lost control at the high-speed Turn 3, spinning off in to the tyres and heavily damaging the car. He became the second Spaniard to visit the medical centre on Sunday but was cleared after compulsory checks.

Sebastian Vettel was seventh for Ferrari on what was a low-key day for the team. Vettel was over two seconds off the pace of Grosjean and completed just 75 laps, having previously said he is keen to wait until Melbourne to try and judge Ferrari’s competitiveness this year.

Nico Hulkenberg ended the day eighth fastest for Force India having been running using the 2014 car. It was a largely frustrating day for the team, with a power unit issue causing him to stop at Turn 1 and limiting him to just 36 laps.

Full times and the final day as it happened

Click here for the gallery from day four of the second test

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