Ferrari have returned to the top of the leaderboard on Thursday with Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest lap of the test so far.
It is difficult to compare with other leading team though, with Ferrari setting the time on the new ultrasoft tyre, and was only slightly quicker than his team mate Sebastian Vettel managed a week previously.
There was also some intrigue at the very start of the day, with the team running a ‘halo’ head protection devise for the first time, which is looking to be introduced for the 2017 season. It has certainly split opinion with some praising the concept for pushing the boundaries of safety yet further and other panning it as against the principals of the sport.
While today nobody got close to the Ferrari, Williams ended the day second again, this time running the soft tyre, two steps harder than the Ferrari. They were just ahead of the Force India and Toro Rosso, both of whom were running the softer ultrasoft tyre.
Mercedes were once again not chasing lap time, again finishing in the mid-order and splitting their day with both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Neither driver completed over 100 laps, but the car is still reliable.
The order behind them though was very close with Sauber ahead of the pack, Felipe Nasr a couple of seconds off the lead on softs, Fernando Alonso on super softs, Pascal Werhlein in the Manor on ultra softs and Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull on softs were all separated by four tenths of a second.
Jolyon Palmer got some much needed running in the Renault after is disappointing start to testing last week for the team. He did 98 laps today, which is more than the running he did over two days last week.
At the bottom of the order was Romain Grosjean in the Haas. It has been a difficult couple of days for the team after a fuel system problem and then an issue with the turbo has left them with very little running. Although the car has been on track, it has been in the gravel twice, first at turn 4, and then at turn 1.
|3||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m23.251s||0.486s||137|
|4||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m23.382s||0.617s||159|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m25.141s||2.376s||121|