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LIVE COMMENTARY: JEREZ FIRST PRE-SEASON TEST - TEST DAY THREE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Test day three
By Pablo Elizalde and Matt Beer
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
07:58 Good morning and welcome to day three of Formula 1 winter testing from Jerez.

07:59 It's all change in a number of teams today as a large number of drivers step aside and hand the new cars over to their team-mates after taking care of the opening two days.

08:00 So this morning world champion Sebastian Vettel tries a Red Bull RB8 for the first time, Lewis Hamilton has his maiden voyage in a 2012 McLaren, and Fernando Alonso gets his first chance to judge the new Ferrari.

08:00 We'll also see Bruno Senna in the cockpit of a Williams for the first time, while star attraction of the opening two days Kimi Raikkonen vacates the Lotus in favour of Romain Grosjean.

08:01 It's another new face who gets us underway - Caterham reserve Giedo van der Garde leads them out.

08:01 The Dutchman will take the Caterham for the morning before Jarno Trulli tries it for the first time this afternoon.

08:01 Reigning champion Vettel - sporting a new helmet with some light blue on top - hits the track too.

08:02 Jules Bianchi sets off, getting another go in the Force India after his promising debut for the team yesterday morning. His car is carrying a measuring device in front of the left sidepod.

08:02 Hamilton blasts out as well, followed by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

08:02 Van der Garde is now back in.

08:04 No messing around from Hamilton, who is the first driver to stay out and go for a second installation lap.

08:04 Heikki Kovalainen is standing on the pitwall watching activity in the Caterham pit.

08:04 Good for him - he should be tucked up in bed after his mammoth 139 laps of work yesterday.

08:05 It's cold out there, Kovalainen is wearing gloves.

08:06 And speaking of weather, here's today's full forecast from our expert @radarguruf1:

"Fine and dry conditions will continue for the third day of action, with plenty of sunshine and just the odd scattered cloud around. Air temperature will climb to 14 degrees Celsius this afternoon, while the north easterly breeze will remain, but should be much lighter than yesterday."

08:07 Outside the Lotus garage, Raikkonen has the headset on and is chatting to Alan Permane and Eric Boullier.

08:07 The Finn - no stranger to cold weather - looks chilly as he shuffles from foot to foot. Is this Spain or England?

08:07 Now Grosjean is back in after his installation lap, Raikkonen wanders over for a chat with his team-mate.

08:08 The air temperature is just 0.3 degrees at present! And only 1.1 on track.

08:08 Today's special guest on AUTOSPORT Live will be Force India driver Paul di Resta.

08:09 He will be joining us this afternoon, fresh from a very encouraging performance on the opening two days of testing.

08:09 So email any questions you have for di Resta to live@autosport.com and he will answer as many as he can.

08:10 Senna is out and already on soft tyres, as is Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne.

08:10 Huge Ferrari flags now start waving from the grandstand opposite the pits as Alonso comes out for the first time.

08:10 Crowds are pouring in already.

08:10 He may not be F1's only Spaniard - and the de la Rosa banner over the last two days showed there is love for Pedro too - but Alonso is a massive draw here even on a test day.

08:12 If you missed any of yesterday's action, here's what happened:

Schumacher leads day two at Jerez

08:12 There's not much to see on the track at present with no cars out.

08:13 It's also freezing in the media centre. The woman somehow surviving in a summer skirt has our respect.

08:13 The pitlane is deserted but for a few brave and frosty snappers.

08:14 While you're catching up with events from earlier in the week, here's our latest testing blog entry for AUTOSPORT Plus subscribers:

Jerez blog day three

08:15 And AUTOSPORT Plus also features an in-depth interview with Paddy Lowe about the new McLaren, the team's hopes for 2012, and why things are already looking a lot better than they did in 2011.

Why it's game on for McLaren in 2012

08:16 Out goes Sergio Perez in the Sauber.

08:17 The Sauber is already sporting aero updates to its rear end.

08:20 Rosberg heads out on softs in the 2011-spec Mercedes.

08:20 It's all about the tyres for Mercedes this week. The team's 2012 car won't be ready until Barcelona in a fortnight, so it is focusing on getting as much data as possible about the 2012 Pirellis - a process that seemed to go pretty well yesterday, when Michael Schumacher was fastest.

08:22 A lot of you have emailed live@autosport.com with questions about exactly what package Mercedes is running this week.

08:22 It is a complete 2011 car - including the blown diffuser that is no longer possible under the 2012 rules - as the team wants to get accurate back-to-back tyre data and doesn't want any car changes skewing the picture.

08:22 Vergne goes back out for Toro Rosso, again on the soft option.

08:23 23 minutes in and we're yet to see a single lap time so far. Not unusual for this time in testing, and of course it is FREEZING, which is probably also a factor.

08:24 Very cold weather isn't much use for testing as F1 tyres aren't designed with the arctic in mind.

08:24 Plenty of tweaks and debriefs are going on down the pitlane, though.

08:24 Vergne sets out once more, third time lucky for a flying lap?

08:26 It's certainly cold on track - a big dose of understeer as the Toro Rosso comes through Turn 3, the car squirming as he eases the power on.

08:27 Bit of a false start for McLaren - Hamilton edges out of his garage but is rolled back in straight away.

08:27 And now it's a Red Bull lock-out as Vettel joins Vergne on track.

08:28 The Frenchman didn't complete a flying lap, he came into the pits but went straight through.

08:28 Already more fans at the circuit within the first half hour than there were all day yesterday.

08:29 More Spanish media in the press room too. And maybe the crowd of random Spanish tourists wandering through looking at us will also be bigger still.

08:29 The allure of Alonso...

08:29 Now if only it would warm up we might see some cars too.

08:30 Here's what Alonso will be doing today, courtesy of @InsideFerrari: "The programme will be very similar to what has been done in the previous days by Felipe. The main target is data acquisition about the car."

08:30 Ferrari is keeping things low-key today.

08:30 It hasn't been the greatest start to the year for the Scuderia:

Massa: A lot of work ahead for Ferrari

08:31 A lap! Vettel clocks in at 1m31.786s.

08:31 Fair to say he's not exactly flat-out yet... Top times from 2012 cars over the last two days have been 1m19s.

08:32 Our own @NobleF1 shows his respect for fellow track runners: "There are some sore calf muscles down at Red Bull Racing. Christian Horner and Adrian Newey ran two laps of Jerez last night. Good effort!"

08:32 Vettel now gets down to 1m27.292s.

08:32 Perez is also on the circuit in the revised Sauber. Our spies tell us the rear bodywork has already undergone changes.

08:33 Even in these chilly conditions, Vettel's RB8 looks well planted as he exits the Michelin curve and heads through Turns 3 and 4 to Sito Pons.

08:33 Alonso heads out for Ferrari once more.

08:35 Some more Ferrari-related reading for AUTOSPORT Plus subscribers, a look at the difference recruiting ex-Bridgestone man Hirohide Hamashima could make to the team's form:

Helping Ferrari get a grip on tyres

08:35 Vettel is now down to 1m23.011s, which is not bad given the cold track. No one else has even registered a lap time yet.

08:35 Though perhaps the local legend will now - Alonso goes past the pits for the first time.

08:36 Rosberg comes out on softs again in the Mercedes. Harder tyres are not what you want on a track this chilly.

08:36 1m22.451s from Vettel now. The track temperature is creeping up slowly as his times slowly creep down.

08:37 Alonso comes round in a 1m32.546s.

08:38 Things starting to warm up on track too as Perez joins the fray.

08:39 Van der Garde brings the Caterham back out too.

08:40 Ferrari is clearly still focused on aero work, as Alonso cruises down the main straight.

08:40 Senna joins the track in the Williams as well.

08:41 Those rear updates look like they're working - Perez comes round in a 1m19.875s.

08:41 That's by some distance Sauber's best time of the week so far.

08:41 It's a very respectable pace in such cold conditions too, and it puts Perez on top by 2.5s.

08:42 Grosjean brings the Lotus back out.

08:43 Just 10 teams present now, as HRT has packed up and headed home. It only ever planned to do the first two days with its 2011 car to help Pedro de la Rosa reacclimatise. It will be back with its 2012 machine at Barcelona in a fortnight, when both de la Rosa and team-mate Narain Karthikeyan should get some mileage.

08:43 Here's van der Garde's first flying lap in the Caterham - a 1m32.252s.

08:43 Hamilton comes out with soft tyres on the McLaren.

08:44 Alonso did not do a quick lap on that run and is now back in the pits.

08:44 Perez knocks a tenth off his previous best with a 1m19.780s and goes 2.671s clear of Vettel.

08:45 Senna registers his first lap time in the Williams - a 1m28.803s. That's third place for now in these very early and chilly stages.

08:45 Grosjean pops up to third with a 1m26.593s in the Lotus.

08:45 While van der Garde improves to 1m30.793s.

08:46 And AUTOSPORT's @NobleF1 gets somewhat distracted: "World first at Jerez today. Just seen someone wheeling a shopping trolley through the media centre. Didn't know there was a supermarket here."

08:46 Grosjean, Senna and van der Garde all slightly improve their times, but remain third, fourth and fifth.

08:48 Hamilton's first flying lap is a 1m28.663s, putting him fifth.

08:48 Perez has stayed out after those two early quick laps, but is now doing 1m23s.

08:48 The fans are out in force, and so are their flags. More Ferrari banners are being unfurled in the grandstands.

08:48 Now a 1m25.420s for Hamilton, who moves up to fourth, and passes Perez as the Mexican dives into the pits.

08:49 Grosjean goes a little quicker again with a 1m24.215s, then pits.

08:50 While Senna snatches fourth back from Hamilton with a 1m25.208s lap. Rosberg is now getting up to speed too in sixth.

08:50 Nice bit of oversteer for Senna as he comes through the final Curva Ducados hairpin.

08:50 Still no one able to get near Perez's time, though. He remains 2.6s clear of the field at present.

08:51 Rosberg gets down to 1m25.678s, staying sixth.

08:51 Hamilton reclaims fourth with a 1m24.412s.

08:52 Bianchi heads out with a bold choice of medium tyres on his Force India.

08:52 And speaking of Bianchi, he'll be racing in Formula Renault 3.5 with the Tech 1 team this year.

08:53 If that seems an odd move after two years in GP2, remember Bianchi said last week that he wanted a racing programme alongside his F1 third driver role with Force India, and squeezing another GP2 campaign into a grand prix weekend would be tough given the timetable.

08:54 Red flag, and we believe it's for Bianchi.

08:54 But let's wait for updates, as yesterday it was gravel and oil on track causing the stoppages.

08:55 @StrangAutosport reports marshal activity at Turn 1, @eddstrawF1 reports a track vehicle at Dry Sac.

08:55 It's a competition between our best spies...

08:55 But we still haven't found the Force India.

08:56 @eddstrawF1 wins. Bianchi is in the tyres at the Sito Pons corner.

08:57 This is the first crash we've seen in testing so far this year.

08:59 The one-hour mark passes with the red flags still out for Bianchi's crash.

09:00 Perez is fastest so far on a 1m19.780s, but most have gone much slower in the very cold conditions.

09:00 Vettel, Grosjean, Hamilton and Senna complete the current top five.

09:00 Everyone has done some form of time except Bianchi and Vergne.

09:00 There's a lot of activity around the crashed Force India at Sito Pons.

09:01 The team's mechanics are pulling out a sheet to cover the car, while the low loader is stopped and extending its arm to lift the Force India away.

09:01 There are intermittent tyre marks in the gravel as if the car skipped sideways across the run-off.

09:02 We can't quite see from here if the Force India made it as far as the tyre wall.

09:02 The car is now being lifted away.

09:02 Doesn't look too badly damaged.

09:02 The covers are only over the front of the car.

09:03 Marshals are now guiding the Force India onto the back of the truck.

09:04 Bianchi had stopped with the rear of the car facing the circuit, suggesting he lost the back of the car and then went sideways through the gravel.

09:04 Plenty of orange coats buzzing around now as the track is swept clear.

09:04 One marshal has the right idea and is using a leaf blower. That looks far easier.

09:06 On his way back to the pits, Bianchi (or his Twitter secretary perhaps) is tweeting about his deal to race for Tech 1 in Formula Renault 3.5 this year.

09:06 It's not every morning you announce a new racing programme then crash an F1 car within a few minutes. Busy times.

09:07 News from Bianchi's team, via @clubforce: "Jules has gone off the track and looks like he touched the tyre wall. Waiting to get the car back to assess the damage."

09:08 Meanwhile @StrangAutosport spots de la Rosa out the back of the pits talking to media about yesterday's HRT run.

09:09 So that's Raikkonen, Kovalainen and de la Rosa all definitely in the 'finished testing for the week but still hanging around to watch' camp.

09:09 That's especially keen from de la Rosa, as his team has gone back to base.

09:09 The low loader is now transporting Bianchi's Force India back to the pits.

09:09 Meanwhile one snapper is getting the important things - LAT's Dan Kalisz is shooting the Lotus garage.

09:11 So is this red flag giving Jerez a chance to warm up...?

09:11 No, not really. Air temperature now 2 degrees, 7 degrees on track.

09:11 Many English people are complaining about the Spanish chill in the media centre.

09:14 The low loader is back in and the green comes out.

09:14 Alonso is first out and on soft tyres. Grosjean follows straight after.

09:17 Alonso goes down the main straight at half-speed.

09:17 Vettel heads out for Red Bull, followed by van der Garde in the Caterham.

09:17 Grosjean immediately improves, going second with a 1m22.334s lap.

09:17 He's still 2.5s off pacesetter Perez.

09:18 Perez has to wait for van der Garde to come round, then he too exits the pits and joins the fray.

09:18 Grosjean chips another two tenths off his previous best.

09:19 The Lotus is now down to 1m22.131s, but still 2.3s off Perez.

09:19 Alonso gets his best time down to a 1m27.009s, although Ferrari still isn't really going for it.

09:20 But his mere presence on-track will please the fans now lining the fences on the inside of the track.

09:20 Vettel up to second on a 1m21.347s, 1.5s down on Perez.

09:20 Grosjean improves again too, lapping in 1m21.975s.

09:21 Now Perez is coming under threat - Vettel improves to 1m20.154s and is within 0.374s of the Sauber.

09:22 Alonso sets a much quicker time than before, lapping in 1m22.712s.

09:22 Rosberg has improved too with a 1m25.514s, and Vergne registers his first flying lap with a 1m29s, then gets down to 1m25.693s in the Toro Rosso.

09:22 Vettel's next time through is a 1m20.3s.

09:23 It's during the next hour or so that the days' top times have been set so far this week.

09:24 That doesn't mean lunchtime and the afternoon will be an anti-climax, though. We'll still be here doing frantic mental arithmetic to analysis stints for you, and we'll be putting your questions to Force India's Paul di Resta, so email live@autosport.com with anything you want us to ask him.

09:24 Vergne now gets down to a 1m23.743s lap, which puts him up to fifth.

09:25 Vergne goes half a second quicker with a 1m23.254s but stays fifth.

09:25 Rosberg knocks a tenth off his best time back in eighth.

09:27 Force India is assessing the damage to Bianchi's car, reports @eddstrawF1. Looks like it's the right rear corner only.

09:27 Grosjean comes back into the pits.

09:28 Senna rejoins for Williams, and van der Garde goes a little quicker than before in the Caterham, lapping in 1m27.545s.

09:28 Just the Williams, Caterham and Rosberg's Mercedes on the circuit now.

09:29 Van der Garde trims his best time to a 1m27.487s.

09:29 Now Rosberg pits, so just two cars on the track.

09:31 While it's quiet, here's some Pirelli news...

Pirelli closing on test-car deal

09:32 Which is quite interesting and useful for F1, but probably not as attention-grabbing as Pirelli motorsport chief Paul Hembery's thoughts on the 2012 F1 cars' looks yesterday:

Hembery fears ugly F1 cars a turn-off

09:34 Senna improves to a 1m25.142s. Van der Garde has come in and the Williams is now the sole car on track.

09:34 Speaking of van der Garde, we said earlier he'll be handing over to Trulli later. Our mistake, the Caterham newcomer has the CT01 all day, Trulli's not out till Friday.

09:34 Senna goes faster still with a 1m24.498s, but remains seventh.

09:35 A practice start for Rosberg, and the Mercedes is back out. Followed by the McLaren of Hamilton.

09:37 Fans packed into one end of the grandstand. Could be because that's where they get the best view of Ferrari. Could be because it's still brass monkeys out there and they're huddling together for warmth.

09:37 Senna dips down to a 1m24.321s and goes ahead of Hamilton for sixth.

09:38 Grosjean shoots to the top with a 1m18.901s.

09:38 Told you this was when the quick times happen.

09:38 That's the fastest lap we've seen from a 2012 car so far, and bodes well for Lotus given that Raikkonen led the way on Tuesday.

09:38 Grosjean's lap puts him 0.879s ahead of Perez.

09:40 A 1m19.099s next time around for Grosjean. That's still faster than Mark Webber's Wednesday lap, which was the previous benchmark for 2012 cars.

09:40 Hamilton does a 1m20.472s - McLaren's best time of the year so far as well.

09:41 @MyCaterhamF1 brings van der Garde news: "17 laps done and Giedo's quickly getting used to his surroundings. He's going through a series of runs to get him used to the tyres and systems."

09:41 Another improvement from Hamilton, who gets down to a 1m20.303s.

09:43 Senna is crawling, so Hamilton has no hesitation in blasting past on the straight.

09:44 Grosjean is still going quickly, delivering a 1m19.660s on his next lap - still faster than anyone else has been all morning.

09:45 Grosjean, Senna and Hamilton all pit.

09:46 So just Rosberg left on track in the 2011 Mercedes now.

09:46 Bad news for the Spanish crowd coming up... Alonso has a problem.

09:47 News from @InsideFerrari: "It will be a long break before Fernando can rejoin the track. A hydraulic problem occurred on the car so we are working to fix it."

09:50 The lonely Rosberg is lapping very consistently - two laps within a hundredth of each other - in low 1m25s.

09:51 Vergne now heads out with medium tyres on his Toro Rosso.

09:52 Still only 8 degrees on the track so won't be easy to get those tyres feeling toasty.

09:53 Rosberg has finished his short run of low 1m25s and pitted, although last time he swiftly came back out again.

09:53 Here comes van der Garde for another run in the Caterham.

09:54 Vergne gets down to a 1m22.287s on his first flying lap of that run.

09:55 And here comes the pacesetter so far - Grosjean joining the track.

09:56 The Lotus looks switched on as the rear steps out a little through Turn 3.

09:56 Vergne gets down to a 1m21.539s as van der Garde also delivers a new personal best with a 1m26.915s.

09:57 Another improvement from Vergne with a 1m21.242s.

09:57 And another improvement from van der Garde with a 1m26.272s.

09:57 Grosjean lowers the overall benchmark once again as he bangs in a 1m18.806s.

09:58 That's a tenth quicker than he had gone before.

09:58 The action on the circuit is very entertaining at present, but seemingly not as exciting as watching us typing... the media centre tour is coming round again.

09:58 It's the time of day when we feel like exhibits at a show.

09:59 Anyway, racing cars... Grosjean's 1m18.806s is now three tenths ahead of the week's previous best from a 2012 car, set by Webber yesterday.

09:59 It's no fluke either, as he follows it up with a 1m19.275s.

09:59 Vergne is also still chipping away at his best, with a 1m20.933s.

10:00 And van der Garde gets quicker too as he laps in 1m25.164s.

10:00 Grosjean is really on it, two huge moments of oversteer through Turn 3 but not even a hint of lifting as he laps in 1m19.4s.

10:03 A 1m20.165s for Grosjean on his 27th lap of the day

10:04 Van der Garde is back in the pits, and so is Grosjean

10:04 Lotus seems pleased with the work done by the Frenchman: Good work Romain, back to the garage for some feedback, 29 laps done

10:06 @MyCaterhamF1 is also happy so far with Van der Garde's contribution: We're seeing him pushing harder in the high speed corners, traction is good and his feedback is clear and concise. Solid job by our new boy!

10:06 There is a lull on track as everyone heads into the garages

10:09 An offer to race at the Jerez kart circuit is passed round the media centre

10:09 In more relevant news, Hamilton and Perez are back on track

10:10 Air temperature is up to 6 degrees, and the coats - inside at least - are finally off

10:11 Wind speed is creeping up to 2mph. That's 3.2km/h

10:12 This is what we call filling up the gaps while there's little or none action on track

10:12 The wind speed today is still a far cry from the 10mph we saw at times yesterday - conditions Paul di Resta said were some of the most difficult he ad faced in F1

Di Resta happy despite tricky conditions

10:13 And speaking of the Scot, he will be a guest on Live this afternoon, so send your questions to live@autosport.com

10:13 Hamilton is the only man currently on track

10:14 He has managed two laps in the 1m21s so far

10:15 Meanwhile, away from the track, Sebastien Buemi reports: I am back in the simulator for some work on Jerez.

10:15 Caterham has confirmed van der Garde has not used KERS or DRS yet

10:15 1m20.940s now for Hamilton, as Vergne and then van der Garde head out

10:16 @Caterham F1 Team: Run 5 - increased front wing flap and brake blanking adjustments made before Giedo heads back out on track

10:17 @ToroRossoSpy: Vergne's first time in the car this morning. Lots of short runs as we work on set-up and aero.

10:17 Lotus confirms Grosjean set his times on the medium compound - born out by the number of quick laps he was able to bang in

10:18 @Lotus_F1Team: Even though it's pretty chilly, tyre temp is achieved by the rubber movement, and car downforce pushing the compound into the circuit

10:19 Van der Garde sets his quickest time of the day with a lap of 1m23.797s

10:20 And he goes even quicker now: 1m23.575s that keeps him in seventh

10:20 Vergne comes round in a 1m20.608s - his best yet - but he stays fifth

10:21 @redbullracing meanwhile set the scene on the morning of day three at Jerez: "If we can set the scene here for you, it's LOUD with a sharp scent of eau de burning fuel & rubber & our fingers & toes are VERY cold!"

10:22 Another seven hundredths shaved by van der Garde, but he stays seventh

10:22 Perez sets a new personal best in S1, but doesn't improve overall and stays second

Thirty laps now for the Van der Garde, the most of any driver so far this morning

10:25 And he keeps going. Perez meanwhile ducks back into the pits as Grosjean rejoins the action

10:26 Ferrari is still working on Alonso's car following the hydraulic problem it had earlier. The team said it would be a "long" break before he is back out

10:26 Van der Garde's run comes to an end. Six laps with an average laptime of 1m23.746s

10:27 Senna heads out in the Williams

10:28 Twenty laps for the Brazilian so far on his first day of work with the new FW34

10:28 A lot of fans packed near the pit exit, and Senna treats them to a practice start

10:29 Grosjean sets the quickest time of the day with a 1m18.419s. He is now 1.3 seconds clear of his closest rival

10:30 That is also the fastest we have seen all test, trumping Michael Schumacher's time from yesterday - which was set in a 2011-spec Mercedes

10:31 He follows it up with a 1m18.979s, itself almost a second faster than anyone else has managed all day

10:32 Grosjean's times haven't gone unnoticed by his team... Lotus F1 Team: How about a 1min 18.419secs? Looking good out there for @RGrosjean at this stage

10:33 Senna jumps up to sixth position with a 1m22.006s

10:33 That has put him right above Alonso, who has completed just 14 laps in another low-key day for Ferrari. So far at least

10:34 Just the 15 laps for Vettel too this morning, but he has cracked the 1m21s barrier and finds himself third

10:34 Senna drops to a 1m21.978s, but also drops in the timesheets as Rosberg improves to fourth overall

10:35 Force India is still working on Bianchi's car following his crash earlier this morning

10:37 Heikki Kovalainen, who finished his testing with Caterham yesterday, was very positive about the new KERS-equipped machine after completing a mammoth 139 laps

Speaking to the press afterwards, with @StrangAutosport in attendance he said:

"For me the car has been very easy to set up. It has a more stable rear end than last year's car, which is something that I wasn't expecting to be quite as good as last year, because we have lost the blown diffuser. But I think the car actually has a better rear end in the high speed.

"For me the main issue with the car is that it is a little bit lazy on turn-in into the corners but we are still running last year's front wing. We have a new one coming later on and I think we will get some more power to the front of the car and that will make it quicker and we will see that the rear end is working really well.

"Otherwise regarding the pace of the car it is difficult to say. We didn't drop the fuel today for a qualifying run, we were doing consistent running all day. I don't know if other people did the same or if they dropped some fuel. I think it's just hard to say, but just looking at the timesheets I think we are closer than we have been before and we haven't done any show runs. So fingers crossed, I can't tell you any better than that."

10:37 Look out for an exclusive interview with the Finn in AUTOSPORT Plus later today

10:38 Senna pits after a five-lap run

10:39 An average laptime of 1m23.027s for the Williams driver

10:39 Perez has pitted too, leaving Rosberg in the 2011-spec Mercedes alone on track

10:40 @WilliamsF1Team: Bruno is working through our test programme today & is currently sat in the car while the team make a few set-up changes before his next run

10:42 Rosberg is now lapping consistently in the low 1m21s after a few laps in the 1m20s

10:42 He is not troubling the top order at the moment though

10:42 Here's a man who might - Vergne heads out again for Toro Rosso

10:43 The Frenchman currently lies sixth, but is just 0.3s behind Hamilton and Rosberg

10:44 Hamilton also decides to join the action

10:45 Rosberg keeps going and is now on the eighth lap of the current stint. His laps are still in the 1m21s

10:47 Vergne posts his best lap of the day with a 1m19.989s

10:47 The Toro Rosso driver was briefly in second place, but Hamilton has outpaced him with a lap of 1m19.727s

10:49 Hamilton, Vergne and Perez are covered by 0.053 seconds. They are still over 1.3 seconds behind Grosjean though

10:49 Slow laps for Hamilton and Vergne now

10:50 We just spoke to Sauber, who are very pleased that their new aero upgrades are working well

10:51 @StrangAutosport: Sauber happy that the new aero package Perez is trying out is working. It features revisions to the coke bottle shape at the rear of the C31

10:51 Perez currently trying ride height changes to evaluate its potential

10:52 Rosberg keeps going and is now on the 13th lap of his run. Still lapping consistently in the 1m21s. If he was in a 2012-spec car, we could say he is looking good

10:52 The world champion is back out: Vettel leaves the pits

10:53 Only 15 laps for Vettel so far on his first day at the wheel of the Red Bull RB8

10:54 Hamilton heads back into the pits after a five-lap run

10:55 The Briton averaged a 1m23.230s

10:57 Rosberg has finally stopped after a 16-lap stint

10:57 The German has done a very consistent run, averaging 1m21.657s per lap

10:57 Senna rejoins the track

10:58 Perez, Van der Garde and pace-setter Grosjean follow him

10:58 It's finally approaching warm at Jerez: air temperature has just crept above 9 degrees

10:58 Track temperature is better though, reaching 18 degrees

10:59 @Sauber F1 Team: Focused on ride height and dampers this morning. We still only used medium compound tyres.

11:00 A new best for Perez - 1m19.770s - to move up for fourth

11:01 The Mexican is just 0.043s from Hamilton - second - with Vergne in the Toro Rosso sandwiched in between

11:02 Vettel heads out again for Red Bull after a short pause in the pits

11:03 Heikki Kovalainen believes Caterham's decision to use KERS this year will pay off

Kovalainen: KERS boosts points quest

11:03 It's like a car boot sale down at Turn 1 - a throng of cars and spectators have lined the inside of the track

11:05 Still precious little sign of the man they have all come to see - Alonso hasn't been out for over 90 minutes now

11:06 Williams informs us that it is not planning to do qualifying runs at Jerez. Lots of teams focused on more important work at the moment

11:07 Senna, Vergne and Grosjean come into the pits

11:07 @Lotus_F1Team: 43 laps and @RGrosjean heads home. Is it time for lunch?

Yes, please

11:08 Vettel and Van der Garde are on track

11:09 No information on the status of the Force India following Bianchi's crash this morning, but the Frenchman is yet to post a timed lap

11:11 @Lotus F1 Team: You can tell @RGrosjean is a real race driver; he gets 'for sure' into his feedback over the radio

Sorry to hear that

11:11 Both Vettel and Van der Garde have pitted as Rosberg heads back out of the pits again

11:13 Hamilton joins Rosberg for another run in the McLaren

11:15 In the meantime, you want to read this feature in which Eric Boullier tells us how Raikkonen has conquered Lotus:

Raikkonen: Leading from the front

11:15 Rosberg drops down to a 1m19.981s, his best of the day

11:16 Hamilton is next round and he gets down to a 1m19.464s, improving on his previous best by around three tenths of a second

11:17 That's the fastest McLaren have been all test, although he is still over 1s shy of Grosjean

11:18 Now a very slow lap - 1m36.404s - for Hamilton as he crossed the start/finish line again

11:18 Senna comes by in 1m21.293s, but stays seventh

11:19 A 1m20.042s for Hamilton on the third lap of his run

11:21 @clubforce informs on the car situation following the crash: The guys are busy in the garage repairing the VJM05. We will hopefully be back out in the afternoon so that Nico can get his first run.

11:21 Another impressively consistent spell from Rosberg - 0.15s covers his last three laps

11:22 Hamilton parks as Vergne heads out

11:24 More PLUS material to read this morning:

Caterham and Kovalainen: A final fling?

11:24 Much to the delight of the fans, the Ferrari finally returns to the fray

11:25 Alonso, sporting soft compounds and the periscope gauge seen without fail so far on the F2012, heads out of the pits for his first run in nearly two hours

11:26 Senna pits, and Vettel heads out

11:27 Alonso has managed just 14 laps in the first 3.5 hours of the test. A lot of catching up to do in the remaining hours

11:27 This morning's pacesetter Romain Grosjean also heads out

11:28 Alonso pits after an installation lap

11:29 Nothing momentous from Vettel on his first flyer - a 1m22s. The RB8 squirms a little through Turns 3 and 4 - not quite as planted as it was yesterday

11:30 Sauber reporting that they will break early for today, as Ferrari investigate a drivetrain issue on the car

11:32 Vettel pits and leaves Grosjean and Rosberg on track

11:32 Good news, apart from Paul di Resta, we will have Daniel Ricciardo answering your questions later on

11:33 Grosjean and Rosberg head in and a rare moment of quietness breaks over the track

11:34 You can start emailing live@autosport.com to send your questions for Ricciardo

11:35 @Kovalainen enjoying a day off: Day off from driving today, going to play golf with John Daly, gotta beat him, game in good shape so should be no problem...

11:37 Senna makes sure the silence doesn't last long as he head back out

11:37 Just as we were going to share this picture of Lotus's heating system. It's not a submarine, we've checked

11:38 Sam Tremayne would like to point that John Daly is a five-time PGA Tour. As if we didn't know already..

11:39 Senna still the only man on track

11:40 Not anymore. Hamilton heads out, but not before a practice start at the end of the pitlane

11:41 Caterham is clearly following Live and sends a clarification to embarrass Sam Tremayne: Just to clarify ... the John Daly Heikki's playing golf with shares some attributes with the golf Pro but he is in fact our Chief Truckie...

11:43 Right, back to the track action commentary

11:43 Grosjean, Hamilton and Senna are out, as Alonso leaves the pits again

11:43 That creates a wave of activity in the grandstand

11:45 Hamilton returned to the pits without completing a timed lap

11:46 Rosberg leaves the pits for another run in the 2011 Mercedes

11:46 Good news for Ferrari as Alonso completes his fastest lap of the day: a 1m20.412s

11:47 The F2012 is still a little twitchy in the corners

11:48 For the record, Alonso's time is also Ferrari's best lap at Jerez this week, some four tenths better than Massa's best from yesterday

11:49 Rosberg flies to the top of the times with a 1m17.613s

11:49 A whole eight tenths faster than Grosjean

11:49 And the quickest lap of the week by nearly a full second

11:50 Rosberg is done, and returns to the pits, leaving Alonso alone on track

11:52 HRT may not have tested with its 2012 car yet, but Pedro de la Rosa is upbeat nonetheless:

De la Rosa reckons HRT in promising shape

11:53 A 1m22.088s on the 22nd lap of his day for Alonso

11:54 Another 1m22s for the Spaniard, who is now just five laps away from Vettel's tally

11:55 This is Alonso's longest run of the day at six laps

11:56 We blame Kovalainen for this: @stcquentinF1 According to http://autosport.com our chief truckie has won the pga 5 times!

11:57 Alonso pits after seven laps averaging 1m22.727s

11:58 That leaves the track empty three minutes away from the start of the lunch break which is never a real break

11:59 Senna heads back out again

12:00 Rosberg is also back on track after his previous flying run. What can he do this time?

12:02 Morning report from Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric did 41 laps this morning before we decided to have a spot of lunch. All going to plan with work focussing on car set-up, a bit of aero thrown in and general data aquisition on the new car. It's getting colder in Jerez.

12:04 A modest 1m20.268s for Rosberg on his first timed lap of the run

12:06 Halfway through the day, shall we have a quick round-up?

12:07 Once again it's a 2011 Mercedes on top with Rosberg having done a 1m17.613s lap, 0.8s quicker than leading 2012 runner Grosjean's Lotus.

12:07 Hamilton, Vergne, Perez fill third to fifth positions, then it's Vettel, Alonso, Senna and van der Garde.

12:08 Just Senna and Rosberg on track now, lapping in 1m23s and 1m20s respectively.

12:08 Looks like it's a tyre run for Senna as he follows a 1m23.362s with a 1m23.460s.

12:08 The busiest man of the morning was our pacesetter Rosberg with 64 laps, ahead of Senna on 58 and Grosjean on 53.

12:09 A hydraulic issue limited Alonso to just 25 laps, while Bianchi crashed his Force India on the third lap of the day and didn't set a time.

12:13 Rosberg is in similarly consistent form as he continues lapping in high 1m20s and low 1m21s.

12:13 The stands and banks out by the Ayrton Senna chicane look quite busy now, and the grandstand on the main straight is about half full.

12:14 No pressure then, Fernando...

12:15 Senna comes back into the pits, completing an eight-lap run entirely in low to mid 1m23s.

12:15 Impressively consistent stuff on his first day in the Williams.

12:15 Rosberg's softs now have him lapping at 1m21.676s.

12:16 That's 1.1s down on where he was at the start of his stint nine laps ago.

12:18 The Spanish tourists are doing the conga through the press room again.

12:18 This, as you can tell, is our highlight of the working day.

12:19 Turns out @KarunChandhok is also friends with our truck driving world-class golfer friend: "John Daly is a legend...& my room-mate in the back of the truck when i was work-exp last year !!"

12:19 While Rosberg's times drift up to high 1m21s, Alonso is back out and doing lowly 1m28s.

12:20 Now Alonso puts in a 1m22.639s, 0.9s off Rosberg's pace on the same lap.

12:23 Senna comes out again.

12:23 And we've noticed Alonso did his fastest first sector of the day three laps ago.

12:23 At this hour, when most of the pitlane is eating lunch, that's pretty heady stuff.

12:25 After some debate, we think the Ferrari sounds different to the others - a throatier noise.

12:25 Suggestions are that it could be related to the exhaust design.

12:26 This time last year, we were spending a lot of time listening to what was then called a Renault to figure out if it's radical forward exhaust sounded very different.

12:26 With the concept effectively banned with the new rules on exhaust placement, there will be less audio variation this year.

12:26 Vettel is back on track in the Red Bull RB8.

12:28 Rosberg has pitted to end his 16 lap stint, in which he averaged 1m21.3s.

12:28 He started off in low 1m20s then ended doing high 1m22s.

12:28 Vettel does his best time of the day on his first flying lap - a 1m19.786s.

12:29 That's still some 0.6s shy of Webber's best in the Red Bull earlier this week.

12:30 Senna also still out and lapping in high 1m22s.

12:30 A less stunning 1m29.4s from Vettel to follow that time up.

12:31 Also, interestingly, it was not his best potential lap as he only recorded improvements in sectors one and three.

12:31 After backing off for that one lap, Vettel throws in a 1m19.937s.

12:32 This time Vettel delivers his highest sector one speed yet, at 271.8 km/h and does a new personal best in sector one of 33.446s.

12:33 On his next lap Vettel is six tenths slower but does a faster sector one speed trap pace - 273.2 km/h.

12:33 Van der Garde comes back out for Caterham.

12:34 And now Vettel comes back in.

12:38 That last little blast from Vettel started with his new best of 1m19.7s, then he backed right off for a lap, then put in a 1m19.9s and a 1m20.4s.

12:39 Alonso rejoins to thrill the Spanish crowd.

12:40 Now Senna finally pits, leaving the Ferrari and Caterham on track.

Bruno Senna12:41 Another very consistent run from Senna, who did 11 laps between mid 1m22s and high 1m23s. His average was 1m23.1s, and interestingly he got quicker and quicker for the first five laps before tailing off.

12:44 Ferrari is doing useful but not very thrilling stuff, as @InsideFerrari reveals: "A few runs for more aerodynamic measurements now. This is a very important job, aimed to get more understanding of the car's behaviour."

12:44 And now everyone pits and it's all quiet.

12:47 It's not round one on the calendar this time, so this isn't quite such an urgent issue for F1 as it was when we were here testing 12 months ago, but even so, Bahrain remains a worry...

FIA urged to drop the Bahrain GP

12:47 Hamilton comes out of the pits. Phew.

12:47 And Vettel too.

12:48 Excellent, early world title showdown between Red Bull and McLaren.

12:50 Hamilton kicks off with a 1m22.6s.

12:50 While Vettel is quick again with a 1m20.847s.

12:52 Van der Garde sets his best time in the Caterham so far, a 1m23.324s.

12:53 Hamilton is getting a little quicker but still in 1m22s, while Vettel is getting slightly slower and does a low 1m21s.

12:54 From 1m22.3s to 1m22.7s for Hamilton that time. Vettel round in 1m21.0s.

12:54 Then 22.5 for Hamilton and 21.2 for Vettel.

12:56 So far this week McLaren has tended to keep a relatively low profile on the timesheets - at least until Hamilton jumped to third (second of the 2012 cars) today. But the team is quietly confident about its package, and AUTOSPORT Plus subscribers can find out more by reading our exclusive interview with Paddy Lowe.

Why it is game on for McLaren

12:56 The only bit of colour on the timing screen of late has come from van der Garde setting his best first sector time of the day, and Vettel beating his previous best sector one speed trap speed with a pass at 273.9 km/h.

12:57 In comes Hamilton.

12:59 Can the @thefifthdriver give us a wave from the pitwall? Striking a nice pose there...

12:59 Van der Garde comes in, leaving Rosberg and Vettel on the circuit.

13:00 Vergne just got a tiny, tiny, tiny tad too sideways on his way down the pitlane, as he stabbed the throttle against the limiter.

13:01 But he really was only a tiny bit sideways.

13:03 Lotus means business: Alan Permane puts his headphones on, the engine fires up, and Grosjean rolls slowly out of the garage.

13:05 Rosberg doing very consistent 1m21s at the moment. Mercedes in metronomic mode.

13:06 Rosberg's tally for the day is now up to a very healthy 82 laps, eight more than next busiest man Senna.

13:07 Most have only done around half that, here's the full rundown... Rosberg - 82; Grosjean - 55; Hamilton - 45; Vergne - 44; Perez - 31; Vettel - 40; Alonso - 38; Senna - 74; van der Garde - 54; Bianchi - 2.

13:08 Grosjean isn't hanging around - his 1m20.8s is quite fast in the context of times drivers have been doing recently.

13:08 And it's three seconds quicker than fellow Frenchman Vergne is doing at the moment.

13:09 A disconcerting onion smell pervades the press room... but luckily Vettel comes out to take our minds off it.

13:10 Here comes Alonso as well, so quite a few big guns on the circuit now. Top five bar McLaren, in fact.

13:13 As @Lotus_F1Team tweet a picture of what they're up to - "Back to the track, hi vis decoration and medium tyres", that run ends and Grosjean pits.

13:14 We think the high-vis might've been of the ultra-violet subtle kind...

13:14 Vettel sets his best lap yet, a 1m19.297s to go third fastest ahead of Hamilton.

13:15 Vettel's lines through Turns 4 and 5 look smooth as silk.

13:16 Alonso comes past the pits at half-speed, the basey tone of the Ferrari's exhaust richocheting off the pit buildings.

13:17 They're all back in again except for the Mercedes, which continues to go on and on and on.

13:18 91 laps Rosberg has done now.

13:18 Here comes Vergne, wagging the Toro Rosso's tail down pitlane again.

13:19 Van der Garde heads out in the Caterham too.

13:24 Abbey George has emailed live@autosport.com to ask if we know when the Force India will be back out?

13:24 @StrangAutosport replies: "Hi Abbey, the team is working on it right now. We're now more than an hour into Nico Hulkenberg's first scheduled stint in the car and the German is patiently waiting for the team to repair the damage to right rear created by Bianchi's early-morning shunt."

13:26 Rosberg finally comes in. That latest run was 16 laps which started with some low 1m21s and high 1m20s, then spent a long while in mid to high 1m21s, before eventually slowing to mid 1m22s.

13:27 Grosjean is going out for another burst, joining Hamilton, Vergne and van der Garde on the circuit.

13:27 Currently Hamilton is going round in high 1m21s, Vergne in high 1m22s, and van der Garde in mid 1m26s.

13:30 Vergne has come back in, having done two high 1m20s, a mid 1m21s and two mid 1m22s on his five-lap run.

13:32 @StrangAutosport has dug up some news from McLaren: "McLaren reports Lewis happy with the car. So far today the 2008 world champion has conducted an aero rake test, and plenty of set-up work in shorter runs. Then the team made a few changes over lunch and is now looking into doing some longer runs now that the track is past its best."

13:33 Speaking of McLaren, over on the AUTOSPORT Facebook page there is a poll about the team's unusually-pretty-for-2012 nose design, so head over there and have your say.

13:34 It's getting quiet at Jerez again, Hamilton now has the track to himself.

13:34 The McLaren is lapping in high 1m25s.

13:34 Much quicker that time by, a high 1m22s.

13:37 Hamilton does a pitlane run-through and rejoins.

13:38 Want something to read in these quiet just-one-car-on-the-track moments? This week's AUTOSPORT magazine is available now in digital form as well as in the shops.

13:39 Hamilton cruises around slowly then pits again, and this time stops.

13:40 Just a few moments of quiet before Alonso and the Ferrari break the silence.

13:41 Vergne comes out in the Toro Rosso too.

13:41 As does Vettel.

13:41 Right, that's more like it. Racetracks are always more entertaining to write about when they've got cars on them.

13:44 Van der Garde sets off again too.

13:45 High dose of oversteer for Alonso as he tries to follow Grosjean through Turn 3.

13:45 The Ferrari driver has to back out of it completely.

13:47 Rosberg comes out yet again because he's just too close to the 100-lap mark and may as well hit three figures.

13:48 If a spell in the Mercedes garage has a revitalising effect as dramatic as a spell in the Mercedes hospitality had on AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne, then Rosberg will now shatter the lap record.

13:49 Alonso's trip out of the pits didn't last very long, he's now back in.

13:50 He remains seventh quickest, around where Ferrari has been all week. The team insists there are no dramas and that it is just calmly gathering development data and learning about its radical F2012.

13:50 But so far comments from the team haven't carried the confidence that the likes of Red Bull and McLaren have been hinting at.

13:51 Van der Garde comes in, goes straight through, does a practice start (not the best we've seen, in fairness), and then goes back out.

13:54 Oh dear Jules Bianchi...

13:55 Force India update from @clubforce: "No more running today. We are waiting for a part to complete the repair of the car. Should be back out in the morning with @NicoHulkenberg."

13:55 We believe the disappointed Hulkenberg has now gone off to play tennis.

13:56 Bianchi's life as Force India reserve seemed to have begun so well when he was fourth yesterday, then had his parallel Formula Renault 3.5 programme with ex-champion squad Tech 1 confirmed this morning.

13:56 But moments after the Tech 1 press release landed, Bianchi deposited the Force India in the tyres on only his third lap of the day.

13:57 Rosberg reaches 100 laps and pits. So seeing 95 on the screen must've been annoying him.

13:59 The track temperature has now gone up to 25.6 degrees and air temperature to 13.

13:59 That's not so great for quick times, but a bit more comfortable for standing around outdoors than this morning's near-zero figures.

14:01 Just two hours to go for today's running now. Little change of late - still Rosberg's 2011 Mercedes on top from Grosjean's 2012 Lotus, then Vettel, Hamilton, Vergne, Perez, Alonso, Senna and van der Garde.

14:01 Top lap tally is Rosberg on 100, lowest is Bianchi, who did two laps before breaking the Force India.

14:02 Another dose of oversteer, this time from Grosjean at the final corner, as he comes round in 1m29.943s.

14:02 Vergne clocks a 1m20.645s next time round, which includes a personal best in S1

14:04 Sauber has just fired up the engine on the C31, so Perez will be back on track soon. Probably

14:04 Just 31 laps so far for the Mexican today

14:05 Williams insists it is not after headline times. @WilliamsF1Team: Bruno's current quickest time is 1:21.293 but there is a lot of working going on today so it's not all about going for flat out laptimes

14:06 @InsideFerrari Laps completed by the Spaniard are just 46, most of them at constant speed and with the car full of sensors..

14:08 Senna heads back out again in the Williams

14:08 Rosberg is on 104 laps already. Three laps in this stint, the last one a 1m21.182s

14:10 Williams using a periscope gauge on Senna's latest run

14:10 @clubforce: You always have good and bad days in testing. We've lost some time today but had two productive days already. Still one more day to go...

14:10 Hamilton is heading back out once more

14:12 Rosberg has been very consistent all days with his runs, and continues to be so on the 106th lap of the day for him. Again lapping in the 1m21s

14:13 Clearly Mercedes is making the most of its final day of running at Jerez

14:14 A Panorama of Turn 1 at Jerez, courtesy of @NobleF1: Here is Turn 1 at Jerez this afternoon. This picture clearly has an ugly nose filter http://t.co/8NqhWXRw

14:16 Here's a picture of the Force India after Bianchi's crash in the morning. It was covered quickly

14:17 It wasn't a big impact, but the problem with new cars is that not all parts are easily replaceable..

14:18 Grosjean leaves the pits for another run

14:18 Rosberg has stopped after 112 laps, ten of those completed in the last run, which averaged a laptime of 1m21.121s

14:19 Senna follows Rosberg into the pits

14:19 We would like to say hello to our friends at Mercedes, who seem to be enjoying the commentary judging by all the retweets

14:20 Only Grosjean running as we near the final 90 minutes of the third day

14:22 A discreet 1m25.022s for Grosjean on the opening lap of his run

14:23 Perez is finally rejoining the action in the Sauber

14:24 It will be the team's first run in several hours

14:25 Grosjean laps in the 1m24s now. Far from his fastest time so far today

14:26 Remember Perez's programme was delayed because Sauber had to change an oil filter in the gearbox. That apparently takes some time

14:27 Now, what can Perez do? His best time remains the sub-1m20s he set on medium compounds in this morning's (near) arctic conditions

14:27 Senna's car is fired up again and heads out of the pits

14:28 Grosjean is on the sixth lap of the current run, lapping mostly in the 1m24s and 1m25s

14:28 Perez dives down the inside of Grosjean at Curva Expo, or Turn 1

14:29 And then heads straight back into the pits

14:29 Senna is running with the medium Pirelli compound

14:29 It looks like Perez missed the final chicane and decided to pit after that

14:30 The cameras are out and the crowd is on its feet. That can only mean one thing

14:30 Yes, Alonso is going out for another run

14:31 Good advice from DC. @therealdcf1: Amazed by the interest in pre season testing,especially as we all know the only true indicator is Melbourne Qualy and race, patience all

14:32 @Lotus_F1Team: Back to the pit box Romain. 89 lap tally. No pullaway

14:32 Vergne out, as Senna comes round to complete his first flying lap of this run

14:32 The pair are now joined by Hamilton for McLaren

14:34 Vergne comes into the pits but doesn't stop and, after a practice start on the exit line, is back on track

14:34 Alonso's fans delight was short-lived, as the Spaniard pitted without completing a timed lap

14:35 Another Spanish speaker heads back out: Perez in the Sauber

14:35 Hamilton, Vergne, Perez and Senna are sharing the circuit at the moment

14:37 A 1m21.154s for Hamilton

14:37 No one seems to be interested in trying to get close to the fastest times in the afternoon

14:37 Perez is now back in the pits

14:38 Senna comes round for his 10th lap of his current stint. A total of 88 for the Williams driver so far

14:38 The red flag is out

14:38 There is a car in the gravel

14:39 And it's... (we are finding out)

14:40 The car is stopped at Turn 10, aka Curva Peluqui

14:40 And it's the Caterham of Van der Garde

14:41 Van der Garde's car is facing backwards in the gravel, which suggests he has spun. Obviously

14:42 He's out of the car and is being taxied back into the paddock

14:43 Not the best of days for reserve drivers Bianchi and Van der Garde

14:44 The Caterham driver at least seems to have made no contact with anything, which will be a relief for his team

14:44 Loader is on the side of the track, and the workers have almost hooked it up to the car

14:46 Slightly over an hour of the test left

14:46 Always a delicate process putting the car on the truck - it swings up a little but the marshals hold it steady

14:47 We will be posting Paul di Resta's answers to your questions in just a moment

14:48 The Caterham is now loaded on the truck and, as it's the norm, covered by a sheet too

14:48 Paul di Resta answers coming up!

14:49 EI from New Jersey, USA asks: Two days of testing, can you give an idea as to how the tyres feel compared to last year

Paul di Resta: I think they have improved. They are certainly a little bit different. It’s difficult to get a full gauge on that because obviously it’s a change of car as well and the suspension is a little bit different. That’s what we are here for, to get the data.

14:49 Green flag on track

14:50 No, we got carried away there... Not just yet

14:51 Marshals are back in their posts and the truck is nearly in the pits

14:51 Nishehs Jain, New Delhi, India asks: Post Grand Prix, what are the scenes like at Dr Mallya's parties on his yachts?

Paul di Resta: It’s the biggest party at Monaco! He does it on a Thursday night every year on the Indian Empress. It’s a special event and it’s very glamourous and very Bollywood themed. Given where this team is after five years, you have to be impressed with his commitment to F1.

14:52 Now the green flag is out for real

14:52 The Caterham is still on the truck but there is space to pass and the circuit is re-opened

14:52 And Grosjean heads right out of the pits

14:54 Nishesh Jain, New Delhi, India (We think we misspelled the name in the previous questions, sorry) asks: Have you been involved with the young Indian drivers who won the team's Indian driver hunt programme?

Paul di Resta: Nico Hulkenberg was involved in it last year because myself and Adrian were taken up by racing last year. It's a very good thing. There is pressure to develop Indian drivers and this gives Indian drivers the best chance they can. But his policy in f1 has always been to give the best drivers the seat.

14:54 Vergne, Alonso and Senna are also on track now

14:55 Bogáta, a big F1 and DTM fan, asks: I would like to know whether you still follow the action in DTM. What do you think about return of BMW?

Paul di Resta: Yes. I follow it very closely. I am a genuine motorsport fan and am passionate about the DTM. BMW coming in is only a boost for Mercedes and Audi as you're not just up against one other manufacturer. The DTM should be the world touring car championship as it's by far the best tin-top championship in the world and probably one of the closest championships in the world to F1.

14:57 Girts from Latvia asks: A I've noticed that you always act very professionally and seem to remain calm whatever happens. Have you trained these 'skills' or are they in your blood?

Paul di Resta: I think it's my character. I think about things. There is a way of being politically correct as well and everybody deserves respect. I can let my hair down and have a bit of fun at the right time. I believe that's the best way of doing it.

14:57 Alonso coming in and out of the pits without setting a time

15:00 Once again, Alonso drives in and out of the pits

15:00 @MyCaterhamF1: Small off for Giedo but no damage to the car and he and the car are back in one piece. 70 laps completed and one hour left today.

15:00 Ali Thom from Orkney asks: Would you like to see F1 consider going back to some of the older tracks? (AUTOSPORT suggests somewhere like Brands Hatch or Zandvoort)

Paul di Resta: I wouldn't like to go to Zandvoort and Brands Hatch in F1. There's an element of safety that has been built in and the new tracks have been excellent. I don't think you can knock the F1 calendar at the moment. There are some great facilities in the world and fortunately we get to compete on them.

15:02 Six drivers are on track at the moment

15:02 That's Rosberg, Grosjean, Senna, Vettel, Vergne and Alonso

15:03 Remove Rosberg from that list. He heads back into the pits

15:03 Anvay asks: Will the cars be faster or slower this year than last?

Paul di Resta: I think they will be quicker. Formula 1 always evolves so much. I would imagine that everybody will keep pushing. Looking at the times of where people were now compared to last year, there's an indication there.

15:05 Claudio asks: What is your relationship like with Nico Hulkenberg this year. How do your driving styles compare?

Paul di Resta: It's difficult to say at the moment because Nico has not been in this car yet. But we get on fairly well, we understand each other and came through the ranks together. It's going to be competitive, but that's good for the team and will push it on. At the end of the day, we both represent Sahara Force India.

15:06 Alonso is back in the garage once more. 52 laps for the Spaniard so far, although several of them have been just in and out without a time

15:06 Vergne is also in the pits, leaving Senna, Grosjean and Vettel on the circuit

15:07 Not much to talk about in terms of laptimes right now, but there could be a nice little "battle" as Grosjean closes on Vettel. They are just a second apart

15:08 Dan Kelly asks: Honestly, do you like the look of the new cars. Are you worried about the aesthetics?

Paul di Resta: I'm getting used to them now. I don't think they look at all bad. It's a bit like when they raised the rear wing and put the big front wings on the car, that quickly looked normal. It will continue like that. Like any new concept, it's not always pretty but it's about performance.

15:08 Vettel takes a later apex into Sito Pons, but whatever Grosjean is doing is working as he closes right in

15:10 Senna and Grosjean have now passed the 100-lap mark, joining Rosberg

15:10 Andrea Tajthi from Hungary asks: You've often mentioned beating Sebastian Vettel to the Euro F3 title in interviews. It seems you can't get over this. Is it hard for you that he's already champion and younger than you?

Paul di Resta: It's something that people ask me about. I have never brought it up. It's there, it's in the past, it's on paper and I want to race him in F1.

15:12 Alonso back out in the Ferrari

15:12 Grosjean got to within a second of Vettel but has now dropped back slightly

15:12 Seems intentional from the Frenchman, whose next lap is 6s slower - he wasn't getting anywhere so he drops back to grab a bit of clean air

15:13 Hamilton heads out too

15:13 Felipe asks: Are you confident that Force India will improve on sixth in the Constructors' Championship?

Paul di Resta: Realistically, it's achievable but there are so many factors to consider. It's way too early to say. But we will be doing our utmost to.

15:14 Clean air makes all the difference - Grosjean takes almost 1.5s from Vettel that lap

15:14 Alonso meanwhile registers a 1m20.672s, including a personal best in S1

15:15 Brendan asks: I don't mean to be facetious but I've noticed that, while a great driver, you are not a 'smiler'. By that, I mean during interviews you look uncomfortable like you'd rather be in the cockpit. Is that the shyness of a rookie in the media glare?

Paul di Resta: That's just the way that you are. I suppose you become a bit more relaxed the more you do F1. If it was all new to you and you're being judged. But it's probably about my mind being focused elsewhere on the driving.

15:17 Three more questions to Paul

15:17 As Grosjean closes again on Vettel, Alonso is reeling the pair in

15:17 Rosberg heads out for Mercedes

15:18 And Vettel is gaining on Senna. We may have our own little race here

15:18 Ferrari suddenly looking a deal more planted as Alonso takes a look up the inside of Grosjean at Sito Pons

15:18 Tamas Mogor asks: What do you think of Adrian Sutil's situation?

Paul di Resta: He had a good year last year. I've got a lot of respect for Adrian and he had a good year last year. The relationship that we had was good and I'd like to be back racing against him in F1.

15:19 One down, one to go - Alonso slips by Grosjean and is now hounding Vettel

15:19 Senna meanwhile has pitted, and Perez has just joined

15:20 The penultimate question comes from Hugo Duguay: Which track best suits your driving style?

Paul di Resta: It's difficult to say, but the cars really excel themselves at places like Suzuka and Silverstone where there are big, fast sweeping corners where you can feel the downforce and have commitment and confidence.

15:21 Alonso picked off Vettel on that lap too

15:21 Don't get too excited though, Vettel came round in a 1m28s

15:22 This is, however, a decent spell for Ferrari, with the car looking more assured and Alonso clearly in the mood

15:22 Sixty laps for the Spaniard so far after a slow start to the day

15:23 Vergne leaves the pits for another run

15:23 Claudio Alegria gets the final question: Paul, could you elaborate a little on the differences between driving a DTM touring car and a F1 car? How different is the driving style, what did you have to adjust?

Paul di Resta: You can't compare the two. You just drive tot he grip available. It is a different driving style but as long as you can adapt that's the main thing. I made the transition quickly, which helped. Once you are in the car you just adapt naturally.

15:24 Thanks so much to Paul di Resta for having joined us! And thanks to all of you for having submitted questions!

15:24 Hamilton in, and an army of McLaren mechanics are in immediate attendance

15:24 As Perez heads out again

15:25 Having just pitted, Vergne heads back out again, joining Perez on track. They have the circuit for themselves

15:26 Add Senna to that list too - the Brazilian heads out as the final 30 minutes loom

15:27 And remove Vergne, who dives into the pitlane

15:27 Fast S1 time for Perez on that lap, but he backs it off in the final two

15:27 Senna does the old in-out-practice start

15:29 We enter the final 30 minutes of the third day of testing at Jerez, and it looks like no one is interested in trying to match Rosberg's time

15:30 Perez is back into the pits

15:31 Senna, on 110 laps in the Williams, is the only man on track

15:32 Another lap for the Brazilian, reaching 111. A nice number

15:33 Rosberg, seeing Senna is getting close to his 116 laps, decides to go out for another run

15:34 In fairness, it's all in the name of assessing different tyres

15:34 Perez heads out, again

15:35 117 laps for Rosberg. 114 for Senna

15:37 Perez with a new personal best in S3, but no overall improvement

15:39 118 laps for Rosberg. 116 for Senna. Is there a such a thing as too many laps?

15:39 Vettel joins the action too with 20 minutes to go

15:41 After his earlier foray into the gravel, van der Garde heads out for Caterham.

15:42 And Hamilton comes out in the McLaren.

15:42 It's been a hard day's work for Vettel - 89 laps and counting. Yesterday he could just sit and watch Webber take the RB8 to second.

15:46 Force India hasn't had much to do today, with Bianchi damaging the car on only his third lap and no parts available to fix it, but at least the team have had IndyCar legend @dariofranchitti to keep them company: "Bye bye Jerez, great to watch @pauldirestaf1 test the last few days, fun to catch up with friends too. Thanks @clubforce for the hospitality."

15:47 Showing no hangover from his spin, van der Garde sets a new personal best in sector one.

15:47 He then heads back into the pits, leaving Lotus, Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams on the circuit with just over 10 minutes to go.

15:50 Red flag with 10 minutes left on the clock.

15:51 We're hunting around to find the culprit...

15:51 It's the Lotus of Grosjean.

15:51 Grosjean has stopped between Turns 3 and 4.

15:51 We're speculating that perhaps Lotus was on a planned fuel consumption test and has run dry.

15:51 Grosjean gives a gallant French shrug.

15:52 And well he might - he's still done 116 laps today and is fastest of the drivers in 2012 cars.

15:52 Unless anyone beats him when we go green.

15:54 For anyone new to testing, it's worth a reminder that all teams are likely to do fuel consumption runs at some point and often deliberately run dry as part of this process - so if that is the reason why Grosjean has stopped, it won't be a mistake by Lotus.

15:54 Marshals are buzzing around the scene, enjoying having something to do other than watch after a fairly quiet day.

15:54 Even some from nearby posts have come down to help.

15:55 One marshal stands on the truck and surveys the scene with an air of authority, as the covers go on and the car is lifted, then pivoted towards the truck.

15:56 Every team whose car has stopped has been very efficient with getting it covered up quickly.

15:56 We spy a photographer taking err... spy... shots through the fence, as the car is placed on the low loader.

15:56 Won't be time for much action when the session resumes, if it does.

15:58 And now the lorry is moving.

15:59 Just one minute of the session to go, so unless they're feeling generous and decide to extend it, that's probably it for Thursday.

15:59 Green again.

16:00 Engines fire up, will someone make it out in time?

16:00 Yes, here comes the Sauber of Perez.

16:00 Looks like the session will be extended a little while as the chequered flag is not shown yet.

16:01 Well it wasn't extended by much...

16:02 Perez takes the chequered flag, and it's over for today.

16:02 So that's three days of 2012 F1 testing in the bag, and pretty much everyone has now had a go in their new machine, with Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton trying out Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren's latest kit for the first time today.

16:03 But like yesterday it was a 2011 vintage machine on top, as Rosberg set the pace today for Mercedes with a 1m17.613s.

16:03 Top 2012 car was Grosjean's Lotus in second on a 1m18.419s, 0.8s ahead of Vettel, with Hamilton, Vergne, Perez, Alonso, Senna and van der Garde filling the list.

16:04 Frankly rubbish day for Force India, as Bianchi crashed on his third lap of the morning and without the parts to fix the damaged car, the team had to pack up until the morning, leaving Hulkenberg sitting idle.

16:04 While their mileage tally was therefore lower than low, others racked up plenty of running - led by Senna and Williams on 125 laps, then Rosberg on 118, Grosjean on 117 and Vettel on 96.

16:05 Stay with AUTOSPORT.com for all the news from the drivers and teams this evening, plus exclusive analysis features on AUTOSPORT Plus.

16:05 Thanks for your company today, we'll be back for more at 9am Jerez time tomorrow.

  FASTEST TIMES
P Driver Team Time
1  RosbergMercedes 1m17.613s
2  GrosjeanLotus 1m18.419s  +0.806
3  VettelRed Bull 1m19.297s  +1.684
4  HamiltonMcLaren 1m19.464s  +1.851
5  VergneToro Rosso 1m19.734s  +2.121
6  PerezSauber 1m19.770s  +2.157
7  AlonsoFerrari 1m20.412s  +2.799
8  SennaWilliams 1m21.293s  +3.680
9  Van der GardeCaterham 1m23.324s  +5.711
All timing unofficial. Updated: 16:03 GMT
  OVERVIEW DAY THREE  
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mainly sunny High Temp: 14°C / 57°F
Track: Dry
  INFOBOX
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