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Lotus driver Romain Grosjean topped the timing screens at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday, making full use of the day’s dry spell to deliver a 1:22.716 on a set of Soft tyres. The Frenchman led Jenson Button by almost half a second, while Pastor Maldonado edged out World Champion Sebastian Vettel to finish third.
Further overnight rainfall at the Circuit de Catalunya created near-identical track conditions to those experienced on the opening day, with the wet weather compounds required once again. Pace-setter Grosjean, who caused one of four red flag phases when his car ground to a halt between Turns 9 and 10, set his fastest time within the final two hours of running when the surface had dried up significantly. A late rain shower then ensured his place at the top spot.
Although the initially wet conditions further hampered Grosjean's programme, the longer phase of dry weather at least allowed for some longer runs on the Medium and Soft compounds. Behind second-place man Button, a brief leader in the early hours, Williams changed its schedule to give Valtteri Bottas a forecasted dry day on the weekend. Maldonado was happy to comply and stepped into the FW35 chassis early, before bringing the day to a premature end when his car stopped at the first corner.
Having sat on the sidelines 24 hours ago, it was Vettel's turn to gather more data in the Red Bull. Aside from a brief trip through the gravel at Seat corner, the German enjoyed a smooth run and took time to trial the team's new passive DRS concept - aimed at stalling the rear wing for an extra straightline speed boost. Compatriots Nico Hülkenberg and Adrian Sutil were next up for Sauber and Force India respectively, the latter performing well and showing no signs of fatigue during only his second test day of the day.
Daniel Ricciardo wound up seventh in the Toro Rosso, getting his first taste of the small upgrades that team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne talked up after Thursday's running. Towards the back of the field, Marussia's Max Chilton again finished ahead of the Caterham, this time being piloted by Giedo van der Garde. Nico Rosberg, who completed 120 laps to lead the mileage charts, and Fernando Alonso completed the order after focusing on long runs during the driest phase of the afternoon session.
Pre-season testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya at 9am local time (GMT +1) on Saturday and can be followed via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature
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