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As it happened: Test day three
By Geoff Creighton and Pablo Elizalde
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
09:00 Welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for our continuing coverage of the first pre-season test of 2010.

Excitement is building and the session is just getting underway on a crisp morning in Valencia.

Valencia sunshine09:02 The air temperature is a chilly three celsius with the track only a couple of degrees warmer. However, the sun is out and things should warm up during the day.

09:02 Nico Hulkenberg is the first man out on track today in his Williams FW32.

09:04 Fans are pouring into the circuit already to see local hero Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard has just completed an installation lap in the Ferrari F10.

09:06 Two other former world champions also continue their new challenges today with Michael Schumacher back on track in the Mercedes and Jenson Button getting his first taste of the McLaren MP4-25.

09:07 Button was presented to the media in a photocall outside the McLaren garage a few minutes ago.

09:09 Also on track today will be Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber), Vitaly Petrov (Renault), Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) and Nico Hulkenberg (Williams).

09:10 The track has fallen silent after first installation laps. Button and Schumacher are the only men not to have left the garage yet.

09:13 World champion Jenson Button takes to the track for the first time in his McLaren.

09:16 It is a three lap run for Button as he gets his first taste of the MP4-25.

09:19 Button is back in the pits to wrap up his first experience of the new McLaren.

09:22 Michael Schumacher is wearing a black carbon prototype Schuberth helmet and is working on a run of laps. A 1m14.889s is the German's best effort so far.

09:23 Pedro de la Rosa is now on top of the early order with a lap of 1m12.293s in the Sauber.

09:25 The session has been stopped.

09:25 De la Rosa has stopped on track in his Sauber on the run to Turn 4.

09:30 The Spaniard still heads the early times while his car is being recovered back to the pits.

09:36 Jaime Alguersuari is currently third fastest before the first red flag of the day. This will be his first chance to complete a test day in the Toro Rosso as the young Spaniard was prevented from testing last year by the in-season ban.

09:38 The session has restarted.

09:40 Things are warming up nicely now with the winter sunshine overhead. The track temperature is now up to 18.3 celsius.

09:40 Fernando Alonso is quickly back on circuit in the Ferrari F10.

09:43 De la Rosa's Sauber has been recovered back to the pitlane on a truck and the mechanics are now looking in to why the car stopped earlier.

09:45 An early effort from Alonso in the Ferrari moves him up to third quickest in 1m14.554s.

09:46 Alguersuari has gone faster than Buemi managed in the Toro Rosso. He's done a 1m13.527s compared to the Swiss driver's 1m13.823 of yesterday.

09:47 Alonso improves again with a 1m13.006 to go second quickest.

09:49 It is a march up the order for the Spaniard as he is now under four tenths off De la Rosa's early benchmark.

09:51 Fernando Alonso delights the crowd by topping the timesheet with a 1m12.160s in the Ferrari.

09:53 Alonso continues his promising early run with a new benchmark of 1m11.905s.

09:57 Sauber technical director Willy Rampf tells our man Edd Straw there was a clash between Pedro de la Rosa and Nico Hulkenberg, which caused the red flag earlier.

The Sauber team are tending to some bodywork damage on the car.

10:01 Times after one hour: Alonso 1m11.905; de la Rosa 12.293; Alguersuari 1m12.576; Schumacher 1m13.686s; Petrov 1m17.425s; Hulkenberg 1m17.723s; Button 1m32.980s.

10:03 Meanwhile, Virgin Racing are unveiling their 2010 contender in a virtual launch. Stick with AUTOSPORT for all the details.

Jenson Button10:05 Jenson Button remains in the McLaren garage and hasn't been out since that early installation run.

10:16 Michael Schumacher continues to lap in the Mercedes and has improved to a 1m12.874s, just under a second off Alonso's benchmark.

10:21 From @eddstrawF1 - Williams confirm that Hulkenberg and De la Rosa did make contact. They say "we bumped wheels and suffered no damage"

10:24 Official figures from yesterday's test: 15,500 fans in the stands. More than 25,000 expected today. That may me more than in some races

10:29 Repairs still carried out to the BMW Sauber of de la Rosa

10:37 Meanwhile, the world waits for the first image of the Virgin car

10:42 De la Rosa is now back in action following repairs after his clash with Hulkenberg

10:44 McLaren on Button, via eddstrawF1: "It's his first run, so we're getting him comfortable and running a slightly longer checklist than we had with Gary and Lewis"

10:45 And now Button leaves the pits for some more laps

11:06 12pm update: Alonso 1m11.709; de la Rosa 1m12.094; Schumacher 1m12.450; Alguersuari 1m12.576; Button 1m13.783; Hulkenberg 14.410; Petrov 1m14.707

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Valencia testing11:07 Now Alonso goes even quicker and sets the fastest time of the week: 1:11.599

11:13 Williams driver Hulkenberg is now the only man on track

11:18 The F1 world continues to wait for images of the new Virgin car

11:27 Alonso delights his fans by coming out of the pits. He's alone on track now

11:32 Petrov has improved to move up to sixth on the timesheets, ahead of Hulkenberg

11:36 Pictures of the new Virgin VR-01 on AUTOSPORT in a few seconds

11:37 At Valencia, Button is back on track with the McLaren

Valencia11:38 Here's AUTOSPORT F1 Editor @eddstrawf1's view from the top of the Valencia pits.

11:39 Here's the first image of the new Virgin car

11:47 Button improves his time to a 1:13.498, but he is still fifth fastest

11:59 1pm times update: Alonso 1m11.599; de la Rosa 1m12.094; Schumacher 1m12.438; Alguersuari 1m12.576; Button 1m13.498; Hulkenberg 1m13.959; Petrov 1m14.009

12:21 Plenty of laps for Hulkenberg today. He is already over the 70 mark

12:29 @ClaireVWilliams: Rubens says you can't tell how competitive everyone is because the fuel cell is so large making times difficult to read

12:36 Ferrari reports there's a 4km line of cars to get into the circuit. Over 30,000 people at the track

12:50 Alonso goes even quicker, posting a 1:11.470. He is over half a second ahead of his closest rival now

12:54 Some teams having their lunch break now

12:56 And speaking of lunch, Michael Schumacher had some pasta at Ferrari's hospitality yesterday

Fernando Alonso, Valencia testing12:57 Alonso has completed an eight-lap run which included the fastest time of the week

13:04 Times update at 2pm: 1 Alonso 1:11.470; 2 De la Rosa 1:12.094; 3 Schumacher 1:12.438; 4 Alguersuari 1:12.576; 5 Button 1:12.951; 6 Hulkenberg 1:13.669; 7 Petrov 1:14.009

13:09 Petrov moves into the 1:13 bracket with the Renault

13:20 Spanish media has red fever today

13:30 Paddock and pitlane views courtesy of @eddstrawf1

13:32 Hulkenberg might be doing a race simulation judging by his lap times

13:33 Now he returns to the pits, so maybe he was just trying the car with full tanks

13:38 Russian Petrov has improved his time by a tiny margin, to a 1:13.889

13:44 So, so far this week, Schumacher has been quicker than Rosberg, Alonso quicker than Massa, Kobayashi quicker than de la Rosa, Hamilton quicker than Button, Kubica quicker than Petrov, Alguersuari quicker than Buemi, and Barrichello quicker than Hulkenberg

13:45 All of which, of course, means absolutely nothing

13:45 Button, Alguersuari and de la Rosa in action now

14:07 Petrov now lapping close to his best time. Schumacher, Hulkenberg and Alguersuari on track too

14:07 Less than two hours of the first test of 2010 left

14:08 Petrov improves to 1:13.582 and moves ahead of Hulkenberg on the timesheets

14:10 Some comments from Buemi after his two-day test:

Buemi confident of strong season

14:17 Ferrari says Alonso's "first impressions were positive, although it is still too early to draw any conclusions regarding its competitiveness on an absolute level.

"What is important is that Fernando could drive without interruptions to gain confidence with the car and getting closer to the team and the working methods, which are, let's not forget, completely new for him."

14:18 Hulkenberg the first man to reach the 100-lap mark today

14:20 @ToroRossospy: Random non-stop chanting of "Jaime, Jaime Jaime," from fans above pits, even when driver nowhere in sight is beginning to wear a bit thin.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Valencia testing14:22
Jenson Button on a long run with his McLaren now. Pit boards says 10 laps left for the world champion

14:25 Ross Brawn speaking to BBC's @sarahholt: "It's always very difficult to judge. On full tanks yesterday (Tuesday) we didn't look too bad but we're a little bit off on pace and (there are problems with) the handling and balance of the car which we can fix for (the next test in) Jerez. We know what the problem is.

"Of course the other teams will be progressing as well so we are reasonable, not as quick as Ferrari and Lewis looked quick yesterday. So it looks like we've got a bit of work to do."

14:32 Alonso running in the 1:15s/1:16s with a lot of fuel onboard by the looks of it

14:45 Times at the top haven't changed for a while, with Alonso still ahead of de la Rosa and Schumacher

14:48 All the cars are now back in the pits

14:53 The grandstands have emptied progressively as the end of the session nears. Looks like people want to avoid the traffic madness

15:03 @ClaireVWilliams: Our old Nico (Rosberg) stopped in our box by mistake yesterday - he must be missing us!

15:04 Official spectator figures from Valencia: 36,400 fans today. A total of 59,100 over the three days. Some GPs would like such crowd

15:07 Ticket prices for the test were from 5 to 25 euros. That's quite a bit of money the circuit made

15:08 Michael Schumacher speaking to the media in 10 minutes. Looks like he finished his day early

15:10 Alonso on track again, lapping in the low 1:13s

15:11 Button joins Alonso on track. Meanwhile, Schumacher has officially finished testing for the day

15:13 It looks like no one will get close to Massa's total of 226 laps over his two days of testing

15:15 Of course Massa had two full days of testing while most rivals haven't

15:16 Kubica, who also did two full days, managed 188 laps. Barrichello's two days add up to 177

15:19 Fireworks set off in the grandstands as Alonso chases Button's McLaren

15:20 Looks like Alonso and Button have their own private little race now

15:21 The "race" is over as Alonso returns to the pits

15:22 With 38 minutes left, only Alonso and Massa have managed to lap the circuit in the 1:11s

15:23 Alonso didn't come into the pits. He just backed off to get some clean air

15:25 Alonso set to be right behind Button in a few minutes once again..

15:26 The crowd is loving this. It's their own little GP

15:27 And Alonso gets ahead of Button as the Briton backs off

15:28 Alonso now pits and Button is the only man left on track

15:30 Last 30 minutes of the test

15:31 Will the times stay unchanged or will @NobleF1 have to re-write his whole report?

15:36 All three Spaniards - Alonso, de la Rosa and Alguersuari - are on track now

15:39 110 laps for Alonso so far today. Ferrari well over 300 over the course of the three days

15:41 Schumacher has confirmed that a "little hydraulic leak" has ended his day early

15:43 Petrov improves to 1:13.097. The Russian is still sixth quickest

15:49 Schumacher: "I wouldn't expect to be winning right from the beginning. It wasn't something that I was aiming for and expecting to be the case. But we need to be strong enough on development."

Full story on AUTOSPORT soon.

15:50 Ten minutes left and Alonso is the only man on track, much to the delight of the Spanish fans

15:52 Button and Alguersuari also jump onto the track

15:52 Alguersuari returns to the pits without setting a time

15:55 With five minutes left Petrov leaves the pits

15:56 Button back into the pits. Looks like the day is over for the McLaren driver

15:59 It seems there will be no "glory runs" today and the timesheet will remain unchanged at the top

16:00 Alonso lapping again in the 1:11s. Just a few seconds left on the clock

Fernando Alonso, Valencia testing16:01 The day is over and Alonso remains on top, with Ferrari having dominated all three days of the test

Only the Italian team has lapped in the 1:11s this week

16:02 You can see the final times on the right side of the screen

16:04 That's all from AUTOSPORT's live coverage of the Valencia test. We hope you have enjoyed it. Thank you for reading us.

Tune in again from February 10 to follow the second test of 2010 at Jerez

P Driver Team Time
1  AlonsoFerrari 1m11.470s
2  de la RosaSauber 1m12.094s  +0.624
3  SchumacherMercedes 1m12.438s  +0.968
4  AlguersuariToro Rosso 1m12.576s  +1.106
5  ButtonMcLaren 1m12.951s  +1.481
6  PetrovRenault 1m13.097s  +1.627
7  HulkenbergWilliams 1m13.669s  +2.199
All timing unofficial. Updated: 15:43 GMT
Clear skies High Temp: 10°C / 50°F
Track: Dry