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Massa ups the ante on Day 3

NEWS STORY
07/02/2013

A qualifying lap sees Felipe Massa top the timesheets on the third day of testing at Jerez, the Brazilian out-pacing the nearest opposition, Mercedes Nico Rosberg, by almost a second.

It was the Brazilian's third day in the car - before handing over to Pedro de la Rosa - and he was able to get through the scheduled programme without any problems, completing 85 laps.

Early on he completed the work which he began yesterday and from mid-morning onwards moved on to a comparison of the various tyre compounds. Back on track after the lunch break, he had a spin but was able to continue, ending the day with a series of long run tests.

"These were three very important days," said the Brazilian. "They were especially useful in the sense of finding the right direction for the team to focus on when it comes to the development work between now and the opening round in Australia. We had a lot of items to test and the car went well, it was not difficult to drive and it seemed to me to be quite stable and balanced. Today, we fitted the soft compound tyres for the first time and I went faster than I had expected.

"The quick lap?" he continued. "It means nothing and while I'm pleased to have done a good time, that was not the priority: we must still concentrate on the car set-up and we will definitely be doing this during the next test in Barcelona. Several teams have very quick and well balanced cars and so I am one hundred percent keeping my feet on the ground."

After two days of misery, Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes something to smile about, the German completing a mammoth 148 trouble-free laps on his way to posting the second best time of the day.

The German's work focused on reliability running to put mileage on the car - the W04 having only completed 29 laps over the previous two days - and aerodynamic evaluations.

He ran the medium and hard compounds throughout the day, setting his fastest time on the medium tyres. He also evaluated a new front wing design this morning and ran with the new parts throughout the afternoon.

His total number of laps exceeded the highest single-day total from last year's pre-season test in Jerez (132 laps for Michael Schumacher in the 2011 car). During the final hour of running he also completed a number of practice pit stops.

"I'm very happy with today and I think it was probably a personal record for me to do almost 150 laps," said Rosberg. "I've never been so well prepared physically as I am this season; I feel on top form and it was no problem to complete the programme.

"To drive the distance from Silverstone to Spa in one day with no problems whatsoever is a fantastic achievement from the team," he continued. "It really made up for the last two days and put a smile on everybody's face. In terms of driving the car, I have a good feeling, I can push it and feel comfortable - but obviously we still have plenty of work to do to continue improving."

Sebastian Vettel was one of three world champions on duty today, the German taking over from Mark Webber. The three-time world champion wasted no time in exploring the RB9's potential and set the day's third-quickest time, with a lap of 1:19.052. After 102 laps the German said it had been good to get behind the wheel again after the winter break.

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