Kevin Magnussen got his McLaren F1 career off to an excellent start, topping the timings with a new fastest time of the week at Jerez.
The young Dane’s 1:23.276 was over a second faster than his vastly more experienced team-mate Jenson Button managed on Wednesday.
As for the 2009 champion, he drove the MP4-29 in the morning to make up for time lost on Tuesday and between them the two McLaren drivers completed 92 laps on another good day of reliability.
Felipe Massa was another man making his debut at a new team as he drove the Williams FW36 for the first time; the Brazilian too had a successful day with a best time of 1:23.700 over the 47 laps he managed on Thursday.
The only other man in the 1:23′s was Lewis Hamilton on a day when Mercedes power continued to dominate. Though he couldn’t match his team-mates total of 97 laps from day two, the 2008 champion’s 62 laps added nearly a full race distance to the W05′s mileage clock.
Fernando Alonso got his 2014 season off the mark behind the wheel of the Ferrari F14-T, the Spaniard posted the fifth best time of the day, albeit over 2 seconds slower than Magnussen, while the Italian marque remained the only viable competition for Mercedes with the Prancing Horse turning 58 laps of the Jerez circuit.
The same, once again, cannot be said for the Renault powered teams.
After a dismal first two days, Red Bull’s woes got even worse as Daniel Ricciardo barely completed a sector before the RB10 caught fire, again, as the Australian turned just three laps before the team decided to halt the day’s activities before lunch.
Indications suggest team boss Christian Horner and designer Adrian Newey are already heading back to Milton Keynes to prepare for the next test in Bahrain.
Toro Rosso also struggled with poor reliability though they did manage 30 laps on the day. Any thoughts however that their issues were over were dealt a blow with two late stoppages for Jean-Eric Vergne’s STR9 exiting the pit-lane.
Sauber’s day was cut short after a crash for Adrian Sutil during the afternoon; Autosport suggests possibly a rear suspension failure was the cause though no official word has yet been given.
Finally Marussia made their debut with the new MR03; Max Chilton took the team’s first Ferrari-powered car for 5 tours of the Spanish circuit without setting a time.
Day 3 results:
1. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren-Mercedes) 1m23.276s, 52 laps
2. Felipe Massa (Williams-Mercedes) 1m23.700s, 47 laps
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m23.952s, 62 laps
4. Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) 1m25.030s, 40 laps
5. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1m25.495s, 58 laps
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India-Mercedes) 1m26.096s, 17 laps
7. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso-Renault) 1m29.915s, 30 laps
8. Adrian Sutil (Sauber-Ferrari) 1m30.161s, 34 laps
9. Robin Frijns (Caterham-Renault) No time, 10 laps
10. Max Chilton (Marussia-Ferrari) No time, 5 laps
11. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull-Renault) No time, 3 laps
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