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LIVE COMMENTARY: BARCELONA SECOND PRE-SEASON TEST - TEST DAY ONE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Test day one
By Matt Beer
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
07:58 Good morning and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live's coverage of the second winter Formula 1 test at Barcelona's Catalunya circuit.

08:00 It's cold: 0.5 degrees in the air and on track.

08:00 Heikki Kovalainen heads out for Caterham as the session gets underway.

08:01 Nico Hulkenberg hits the track in the Force India.

08:01 As does Bruno Senna in the Williams.

08:02 The forecast is for today to remain cold, but sunny, with a top temperature of 10 degrees.

08:02 Charles Pic makes his first appearance in last year's Virgin, now running as Marussia.

08:03 Romain Grosjean's Lotus and Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso are also completing installation runs.

08:03 And here's Sebastian Vettel the title-defending Red Bull.

08:04 Ricciardo trundles back down the pitlane after his installation lap.

08:07 Latest out are Spain's hero Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, and Sergio Perez's Sauber.

Mercedes W0308:08 Big news of the morning so far is the first public appearance of the Mercedes W03.

08:09 Michael Schumacher now brings it onto the track for the first time.

08:10 As it has already completed a shakedown and a private test, the team can hit the ground running this morning.

08:13 Now Lewis Hamilton is completing McLaren's installation lap, giving us a full set of cars for the morning.

08:14 No HRT this week - the team's 2012 car failed another crash test and is now in a race against time to make it to next week's final winter running back here at Catalunya.

08:15 Pic is back out for a second run in what we'll now be calling a Marussia (though remember it's last year's Virgin still for now).

08:16 Unusually in the modern era, there has been a whole week gap between tests - though it will hardly have been a week of holiday for teams with plenty of work to do after Jerez.

08:18 If you want a recap of the main themes of the winter's opening running a fortnight ago, this is a good place to start for AUTOSPORT Plus subscribers:

What we learned from Jerez testing

08:18 Pic starts us off with a 1m52s lap.

08:18 That won't be representative of anything - the temperature is only just above freezing and the GP2 graduate is still getting to grips with the car.

08:20 Marussia's plan this week is all about giving Pic some experience - he will have the 2011 car for three of the four days to build F1 mileage.

08:20 Timo Glock pops in on Thursday to shake off some cobwebs.

08:21 The new Marussia - the first constructed since the team ditched Wirth Research and its all-CFD mantra in favour of a McLaren alliance - will appear at Barcelona next week.

08:21 Pic is now down to 1m47.557s.

08:21 Senna is coming out too.

08:22 And if the Brazilian needs any tips, he now has a new wise head in the garage to ask:

Wurz returns to Williams as driver mentor

08:23 Perez hits the track too.

08:23 Pic improves again to 1m45.563s.

08:23 The Frenchman is still the only man to set a lap time today.

08:24 After a bit of a drought in recent years, there's a French renaissance in Formula 1 this year, with Pic and Grosjean on the grid.

08:24 And Jean-Eric Vergne, of course.

08:24 But you won't find any Italians in the field this year.

08:25 Hulkenberg brings the Force India back out.

08:25 The German has mileage to catch up on as he lost half a day of running at Jerez due to Jules Bianchi (another member of F1's French resurgence) shunting the Force India early in the morning on day three.

08:26 Pic has completed his run and pits, as Senna starts off with a tentative 1m57s.

08:27 Perez blows everyone else's tip-toe times away with a 1m35s lap.

08:28 That's still pretty cautious, but he's getting on with it by the standards of everyone else's early laps.

08:28 Now a 1m28s from Perez and a 1m33s from Hulkenberg.

08:29 Hulkenberg brings the Force India back in.

08:29 Grosjean is also on track again now.

08:29 Before a load of cars did some laps, we were making a point about Italians in a slightly roundabout way...

08:30 So back to that: if you've been away since Jerez, you might not have heard that there will be no Italians on the grid for the start of the season as Caterham has - not unexpectedly - ditched Jarno Trulli in favour of Vitaly Petrov.

08:30 Vettel comes back out in the Red Bull.

08:31 If you're pining for Trulli already, we have quite a lot of Jarno-related content on the site, but that particular gratuitous plug can wait until cars have finished setting lap times as realistically that's what you probably want to read about.

08:31 Senna - no doubt reassured by wisdom from Wurz - heads back out.

08:32 Perez has improved again with a 1m27.039s.

08:32 That's a more realistic pace, it's not far off last year's fastest race laps.

08:32 In fact it's 0.2s quicker than the Mexican's best lap in the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix.

08:32 And it's only half eight and it's freezing cold.

08:33 Vettel dives back in.

08:33 Grosjean's first time on the board is a 1m55s.

08:34 If you're new to this testing lark, the 28s gap between Sauber and Lotus at present is nothing to take too seriously - at this time in the morning and at these arctic temperatures, many teams will be doing slow analysis runs rather than going flat-out for lap times.

08:34 Grosjean and Perez pit now too.

08:34 Perhaps because they want to give AUTOSPORT Live a chance to plug a load of Trulli features.

08:35 But first, this is what Perez has on his jobs list for today, courtesy of @OfficialSF1Team: "aero, rear ride height, tyre comparison, set-up."

08:36 Hamilton brings the McLaren back out.

08:37 Ricciardo leaves the pits too with the Toro Rosso.

08:37 Pic is out in the Marussia again.

08:39 Hamilton commences his day's work with a 1m32.490s lap.

08:40 The McLaren goes quicker next time round with a 1m31.811s.

08:41 It's getting very slightly warmer: 3 degrees on track and 6 degrees outside.

08:41 But overnight it got as low as 0.1 degrees.

08:42 This unnerved @MyCaterhamF1: "Reports of polar bears setting up home on turn 4 are being investigated"

08:43 Hamilton comes in as Pic sets off again.

08:43 Hulkenberg's Force India is next past our pitlane vantage point, and is sporting the periscope gauge most recently modelled by Ferrari at Jerez.

08:45 Ricciardo is now second on the board with a 1m29.429s.

08:47 AUTOSPORT Live is limping a little this morning - @NobleF1 has novovirus, the back-in-Britain contingent has a broken 'h' key and Sam Tremayne made a rubbish seating choice in the Catalunya press room.

08:47 We'll press on.

08:47 Everyone returns to the pits and the track falls silent.

08:47 There's a sparse sprinkling of fans in the grandstand opposite.

08:48 More are slowly trickling in, but that grandstand opposite us is so vast it's unlikely to look packed on a test day.

08:48 The pitlane is looking pretty empty too - almost no one out on the wall.

08:50 Force India's plan, via @ClubForce: "A busy programme planned for @NicoHulkenberg. Looking at tyres as usual, some aero work and long runs hopefully this afternoon."

08:51 With no cars on track to cheer him up, AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne is complaining about the cost of Catalunya press room internet, his hotel and his hire car service.

08:52 But his rubbish choice of seating position is his own fault.

08:52 Alonso brings the Ferrari back out for what will be only his second lap of the day.

08:53 The Spaniard is going for a flying lap.

08:53 But 'flying' is something of a misnomer because he's at half speed down the straight and again carrying a periscope gauge.

08:53 Alonso may have been quickest on the final day at Jerez, but the consensus was that Ferrari was the team with most work to do among the frontrunners.

08:54 The Ferrari heads round again, with Alonso on limited revs.

08:55 Alonso's first lap time is a 1m43.590s.

08:56 We're yet to see a proper time from the only just unveiled Mercedes W03, but while we're waiting to assess its potential, here's what Norbert Haug thinks:

Haug: Mercedes taking the right steps

08:57 A scintillating run from Alonso comes to an end, and it's quiet again.

08:57 We were being flippant there, he was just doing low-speed data gathering.

08:59 Time for a first hour recap then: Perez quickest for Sauber right now on a 1m27.039s, followed by Ricciardo's Toro Rosso, Kovalainen's Caterham, Hamilton's McLaren and Hulkenberg's Force India.

09:00 Alonso (Ferrari), Pic (2011 Virgin-now-Marussia), Senna (Williams), Grosjean (Lotus) and Schumacher (Mercedes) have set slow lap times on data and analysis runs.

09:00 Vettel has done installation laps in the Red Bull but no flying laps.

09:01 And busiest man so far is Pic, with nine laps. Marussia's plan for the week is all about giving its rookie driver some mileage.

09:02 With no cars on track, we're back to watching photographers in the pitlane and seeing how many other journalists up here are on Facebook rather than working.

09:02 A banner goes up in the grandstand reading 'Jaime we miss you'.

09:03 AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne has a knack for figuring out the exact size of fans' banners from the opposite side of pit straights, and reckons this one is five feet high and six feet wide.

09:03 It features a cartoon of Alguersuari's face too.

09:03 Senna sets off in the Williams.

09:03 As does Ricciardo.

09:04 That will surely make the Alguersuari fans frown.

09:04 Bit more life in the pitlane as the Toro Rosso staff head over to the wall.

09:06 Actually Alguersuari fans, your man was in the higher numbered Toro Rosso last year, so if you work it out on that basis, Ricciardo has supplanted Sebastien Buemi and it's Vergne who nudged Alguersuari aside. So hold your wrath for today.

09:06 Senna idles down the main straight.

09:07 As the Williams comes past again, it's measured at 179 km/h, positively crawling by F1 standards.

09:08 Ricciardo goes fastest with a 1m26.481s.

09:08 That's 0.5s quicker than Perez.

09:08 And the Toro Rosso goes faster still, lapping in 1m25.247s.

09:08 Ricciardo picks off Senna's trundling Williams as they head down to the first turn.

09:09 Also out now is Hulkenberg in the Force India.

Ricciardo09:10 If you want a meaningless but half-interesting comparison, Ricciardo's time is two seconds off the best Toro Rosso qualifying lap from last year's race here, and four seconds better than the team's best race lap.

09:10 Hamilton brings his best time down to a 1m31.811s in fourth place.

09:11 Senna continues to set slow lap times around 1m49s.

09:13 On track now are Ricciardo, Hamilton and Pic.

09:14 Vettel leaves the pits too, he's yet to set a time so far today.

09:14 Current pacesetter Ricciardo pits after a five-lap run averaging 1m26.2s.

09:15 The Australian kicked off with a mid 1m26s, then his time-topping 1m25.2s, then a mid-1m25s and two high 1m26s.

09:16 Improvement from Hamilton, who sets his first realistic-pace lap time of the day with a 1m27.285s and moves into third.

09:16 Pic is picking up speed (that terrible pun wasn't even deliberate, by the way) as he does a 1m38.705s in sixth.

McLaren09:16 Quicker again from Hamilton - a 1m26.420s puts him second, 1.2s down on Ricciardo.

09:17 Vettel's first flying lap of the day is a 1m27.938s, putting him fourth.

09:19 It was a one-lap burst - the world champion now pits.

09:19 A semi-swarm of cameras and TV crews huddle around as the car is wheeled in.

09:20 Pic now has the track to himself.

09:20 Grosjean comes out to join him in a gesture of French solidarity.

09:22 Big improvement from Pic, who finds five seconds and does a 1m33.268s.

09:22 Pic pits after that lap, so just Grosjean out.

09:23 Grosjean jumps to third with a 1m26.809s in the Lotus, as Pic rejoins.

Romain Grosjean09:25 While setting that time, Grosjean went quickest so far in the sector two speed trap. Now he pits.

09:26 Yes, that's a picture of him leaving the pits not coming back in, but we're doing better with getting images into AUTOSPORT Live this week. Making them appropriate is the next goal.

09:26 Alonso sets off again in the Ferrari.

09:28 There will be many people intrigued to hear from Alonso at the end of today. After Ferrari's tough time at Jerez, the former champion was optimistic about Catalunya:

Alonso expects stronger car at Barcelona

09:28 Pic comes back in for Marussia.

09:28 Alonso cruises slowly past the pits.

09:28 As Pic comes straight back out.

09:31 Hamilton is out again for McLaren.

09:31 As Alonso pits in the Ferrari.

09:32 Vettel sets off again. Just one lap for him last time around.

09:33 Pic is also still out, and circulating in 1m33s and 1m34s, with the occasional passage through the pits, as he gets to grips with F1.

09:33 If you've got any questions for our team of experts on the ground at Catalunya, email them to live@autosport.com and we'll get through as many as we can.

09:34 Hamilton blasts to the top with a 1m24.585s.

09:34 That's 0.6s faster than Ricciardo's previous benchmark.

09:35 But Hamilton doesn't stay there long as now Vettel does a 1m24.348s to depose him.

09:36 An instant reply from the world champion.

09:36 Hamilton improves next time past with a 1m24.468s.

09:36 It's the McLaren man's best of the morning, but it's 0.1s down on the Red Bull.

09:37 A little preview of a potential world title battle on a chilly morning at Barcelona.

09:37 Speaking of chilly, it's now 7 degrees outside and 5 degrees for track temperature.

09:37 Vettel stays on the pace with a 1m24.9s, as Hamilton backs off to 1m32s.

09:39 Just for comparison, Vettel and Hamilton's pace right now is just over 3s off last year's best Catalunya testing times and Spanish GP pole time, and just over 2s quicker than last year's fastest race laps at the track.

09:40 We suspect the timing screen here has gone mad as it's giving us some pretty greens and purples for Hamilton's sector times but his last lap - a 1m25.2s - was slower than his best.

09:41 In answer to those of you emailing live@autosport.com keen to know the exact best time from Catalunya testing last winter, it was a 1m21.268s from Schumacher.

09:41 Our current pacesetter Vettel is 3.2s off that pace right now.

Sebastian Vettel09:43 And here's Vettel in a hat, peeping over a barrier, earlier today.

09:43 Schumacher brings the new Mercedes out, followed by Alonso's Ferrari.

09:44 An aggressive opening lap from Alonso and he comes round ahead of Schumacher.

09:44 Hulkenberg is on the circuit for Force India now too.

09:45 A new personal best for Alonso as he laps in 1m27.007s and goes fifth.

09:46 Until now, Ferrari had been cruising around gathering data. That lap is 2.6s off current pacesetter Vettel.

09:46 Schumacher, meanwhile, comes back in. Just six laps so far for the new W03.

Alonso09:46 Alonso improves to 1m25.677s and takes fourth from Grosjean.

09:47 Hulkenberg now into fifth with a 1m26.714s for Force India.

09:49 Now the German shaves six tenths off that with a 1m26.164s.

09:49 No change in position, he's still fifth.

09:50 Alonso came back in after his quick time, so just Pic and Hulkenberg in action at present.

09:51 Now Alonso goes out again, as does Senna, and Pic pits. And AUTOSPORT's ailing Sam Tremayne blows his nose again.

09:51 Senna has done 11 laps so far today, but all at slow speed.

09:53 Alonso returns to the pits without going for another flying lap.

09:54 Now just Pic and Senna on the circuit.

Pic09:54 New personal bests from both in quick succession, as Pic does a 1m33.254s and Senna a 1m29.480s.

09:55 Hulkenberg is back on the circuit after a swift pit visit.

09:55 Senna improves to 1m27.626s.

09:56 But he is still back in eighth place and 3.2s off Vettel's pace.

09:56 Pic comes through the pits and rejoins.

09:57 Hulkenberg does likewise.

09:58 AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne adds a sore thumb to his runny nose after a chair/desk incident, but he still can't rival @NobleF1's novovirus.

09:58 Senna improves again, finding another 0.4s and doing a 1m27.265s.

09:58 That gets the Williams to within 2.9s of Vettel's best.

09:59 Kovalainen brings the Caterham out.

10:00 Pic gets down to a 1m31.301s, as Senna does a 1m27.051s.

10:00 The pair stay 10th and eighth, however.

10:00 Getting busier on the circuit as Ricciardo heads out for Toro Rosso.

10:02 Two-hour recap time: Vettel quickest on a 1m24.348s, ahead of Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Perez, Senna, Kovalainen and Pic. Schumacher yet to set a proper time, and HRT yet to produce a 2012 car.

10:03 Pic has been most active so far on 31 laps, followed by Hulkenberg on 21. Just six for Schumacher, seven for Grosjean and eight for Perez.

10:04 Kovalainen does a new personal best of 1m27.537s but stays ninth.

10:06 A new overall best from Vettel at the start of his next stint, as he does a 1m24.260s.

10:06 That edges the Red Bull 0.208s clear of Hamilton's McLaren.

10:07 Red flag.

10:07 Quite a few cars on track so bear with us while we hunt for the culprit.

10:07 Someone has spun at Turn 16 and is parked sideways across the circuit.

10:08 Well, we didn't see them spin but it's hard to see how else they would have ended up in that position.

10:08 Marshals sprint across the gravel.

10:08 The incident is at the final left-hander onto the main straight.

10:09 It's Kovalainen's Caterham.

10:09 The Finn has stepped out of the car as a track vehicle comes to assist the three marshals on clear-up duty.

10:10 The marshals admire the Caterham.

10:11 Fair to say the AUTOSPORT Live team revel in unnecessarily detailed descriptions of red flag situation clean-ups.

10:11 A people carrier arrives and a swarm of Caterham personnel hop out.

10:11 Now there are about 10 marshals on the scene too.

10:12 There is industrious looking at and poking about of the rear of the car.

10:12 A low loader finally arrives.

10:13 In our unofficial league table of Spanish circuit low-loader reaction times, we reckon Jerez's crew was quicker.

10:13 As well as getting excited about lorries, we're also enjoying the questions you're sending to live@autosport.com, so keep them coming.

10:14 Jorge asks: Yesterday Mercedes had there first run and yet today they
been in the pits. Does that mean Mercedes have an issue?

Our answer, from @EliGP: "Despite having completed a shakedown at Silverstone last week and a day of testing on Sunday, it is still very early days for the new car, and spending long hours in the garage is not uncommon with new cars. It happened to most teams at Jerez. Even Red Bull lost an entire morning due to an electrical problem there.

10:15 The Caterham is in the air and being lifted onto the back of the truck.

10:16 Later, we reckon we'll be able to bring you pictures of this excitement.

10:17 Just before this red flag, we were going to look at the Alguersuari fans with the big 'We miss you Jaime' banner to see if they sobbed or jeered every time Ricciardo went past, but we couldn't see them behind their creation.

10:17 The low loader cuts dramatically across the pitlane hatching.

10:18 Not sure if we permit that in our Spanish circuit low-loader time trial rules.

10:19 Green flag and we're back underway.

10:19 The computer system says the Caterham dropped no oil and the track is clear.

10:20 Enlightenment from @MyCaterhamF1: "A problem for Heikki stopped him out on track. Won't know what the issue is until the car's back in the garage, which it is right now"

10:20 'Problem' suggests a technical issue, which would explain the poking around at the rear of the car. But it's possible it was something that locked the rear wheels, which would explain why it ended up parked in its curious position.

10:21 Schumacher and Hamilton are first out, followed by Senna.

10:23 Schumacher is straight on it and does a 1m25.032s to go third in the brand new Mercedes W03.

Mercedes10:23 That time including the overall best of the day in sector two.

10:26 Schumacher now down to 1m27s, as Vettel laps in 1m24.5s, 0.3s off his current best.

10:27 Schumacher improves slightly with a 1m25.024s, 0.008s better than his previous best.

10:27 That lap put him quickest of all in the final sector. A promising start for Mercedes.

10:28 We've had quite a few questions to live@autosport.com about drivers' tyre choices for the morning, so we're going to try and reposition AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne in a better vantage point. But last time he changed seating position he ended up upsetting Spanish television, so bear with us.

10:30 Hamilton comes into the pits after a four-lap run. It started with three slow laps in the 1m30s, 1m31s region before the Briton did a 1m24.6s, 0.2s off his previous best.

10:30 Vettel and Pic come back in too. Schumacher and Senna stay out, Ricciardo sets off.

10:30 Pic just passed through the pits and now rejoins.

10:30 A decent 38 laps for Marussia today, the most of any team.

10:31 But remember Pic is in last year's Virgin, as he's gaining experience this week before the 2012 Marussia rolls out at the final test.

10:31 Hulkenberg bangs in the day's first 1m23s lap.

10:32 The Force India surges to the top and goes 0.398s clear of Vettel with a 1m23.862s lap.

10:33 Quicker again by Hulkenberg, who does a 1m23.712s.

Force India10:34 The Force India set new bests in the first two sectors but was a little slower than before at the end of the lap.

10:35 Pic improves his time to a 1m30.125s.

10:35 The Marussia remains at the tail of the order.

10:37 Hulkenberg set those times on the white-branded medium tyres, the most popular choice for this test.

10:39 We could see the debut of this year's red super soft here this week too. No one picked them for Jerez, but they have been brought to Catalunya.

10:39 Pic has the circuit to himself at the moment.

10:40 @InsideFerrari brings news of minor trouble: "A small issue is keeping Fernando in the garage for a while... Nothing major but it takes some time to fix."

10:40 And now Pic comes in.

10:40 But goes straight back out.

10:41 But as he's the only man on the circuit, we still feel we won't be missing much if we dip into the live@autosport.com mailbag for a second.

10:42 Kevin asks: Any sign of a creative use for that nose vent on the Red Bull yet? No trick blown front wings?

Wisdom in response from @EliGP: Adrian Newey said last week that the hole was there simply for driver cooling. No, we haven't seen anything suspicious yet, but then again, this is F1, so you never know.

In any case, this is what Newey said: "The slot in the nose is simply driver cooling. Traditionally the driver cooling slot is at the front of the nose, but really for styling as much as anything we moved it to where you now see it to break up the aesthetics of the ramp."

10:44 Brendan asks: "How's the tyre situation? From your pics I can see mediums and hards. Not the greatest compounds for such cold conditions. Are the compounds for testing selected by teams/drivers, or determined by the FIA?"

Our expert @EliGP says: "The teams can choose which compounds they will use out of 100 sets of tyres allocated per car for testing during the year. Pirelli said the most popular choice for Barcelona has been the medium tyre, with 110 sets selected. The soft compound was the next most popular choice, with 82 sets, followed by 69 sets of hards, and 34 of supersofts.

"In total, Pirelli is bringing a massive 367 sets of tyres to Barcelona. That's 73 more than it took to Jerez."

10:44 Pic drops down to a 1m29.248s now.

10:45 As @Marussia_F1Team explains what he's up to: "Busy busy on Day 1 here in Barca. Charles has 43 laps under his belt already... and the team are interspersing his runs with a spot of pit stop practice."

Pic10:46 Pic passes through the pits again, and now Vettel heads out in the RB8.

10:49 We thought the sidelined @NobleF1 had gone off to rest, vomit or sleep as he recovers from novovirus, but he's just reappeared to discuss the content of the Mercedes launch videos he's been watching. The man is keen.

10:50 Current pacesetter Hulkenberg is back out, still using medium tyres.

10:52 If Force India turned out to genuinely be the fastest car around this winter, it would count as one of F1's great testing shocks. If you're an AUTOSPORT Plus subscriber, you can read about a load more in this rather cool retro feature:

F1's top 10 all time testing shocks

10:54 Five cars on track at present: Hulkenberg's Force India, Vettel's Red Bull, Schumacher's Mercedes, Senna's Williams and Pic's Marussia.

10:56 Senna has improved his best time to 1m26.522s and gone seventh.

10:57 Slightly quicker still from Senna as he does a 1m26.342s.

10:58 Hamilton is back out and immediately improves his time.

McLaren10:59 A 1m24.131s takes the McLaren up to second, ahead of Vettel an 0.4s down on Hulkenberg.

11:01 "Almost ready to go back on track" reports @InsideFerrari

11:02 Ricciardo starts his next run with a quick time, as the Toro Rosso does a 1m24.429s and jumps to fourth.

11:02 Quicker again from Ricciardo now - a 1m24.215s puts him ahead of Vettel and into third.

11:03 That's 0.503s off the pace as the Toro Rosso slips in between McLaren and Red Bull.

11:04 A low 1m24s for Hamilton, slightly off his earlier 1m24.131s best but including a personal best in sector one.

11:05 Senna comes in to conclude a six-lap run, all between mid-1m26s and mid-1m27s.

11:06 Hamilton pits too. He was on medium tyres for that stint, and did three 1m24s laps interspersed with a slow 1m35s and a quick-ish 1m26s.

11:06 We reckon Pic and Ricciardo are out on hard tyres.

11:08 Still only a smattering of fans in the grandstand.

11:08 And good news: Catalunya's public tours also include a trip through the media centre.

11:09 The first batch just got to look at us through the glass like we were in a zoo. This crowd came right in. Cheers.

11:09 Ricciardo and Pic now pit.

11:10 Want to examine the new Mercedes W03 in detail and see Schumacher and Nico Rosberg wearing boots colour-coded like their helmets?

Mercedes W03 gallery

11:11 Want to see keep up with the latest pictures from testing, including pretty sunrises and Pic's focused eyes?

Barcelona testing gallery

11:11 Alonso's repaired Ferrari blasts up to second in the order.

11:12 A 1m24.100s puts the former champion 0.388s behind Hulkenberg, knocking Hamilton down to third.

Fernando Alonso11:12 Alonso follows it up with a 1m24.8s.

11:15 Alonso is using medium tyres, as is Vettel on the run he has just commenced.

11:16 Perez has brought the Sauber out for the first time in a while.

11:16 By the way, unlike Jerez, Catalunya operates a formal lunchbreak so we'll be pausing in about 45 minutes.

11:17 AUTOSPORT Live doesn't eat or drink, though, instead we'll be racing down to a Mercedes press briefing to get the drivers' thoughts on the W03.

11:19 Perez moves up to eighth with a 1m26.716s lap.

11:21 Another improvement from the Mexican as he laps in 1m25.152s and moves past Senna to seventh.

11:23 Now Hamilton joins Hulkenberg in the 1m23s.

11:24 The second-placed McLaren does a 1m23.960s and is now within 0.520s of the Force India's 1m23.440s.

11:25 Schumacher gets in on the act and does a 1m24.150s in fourth place on the second lap of his latest run.

11:27 Now a big move from Ricciardo, who jumps to second.

Daniel Ricciardo11:27 The Toro Rosso laps in 1m23.751s to go 0.311s behind Hulkenberg.

11:30 On track at the moment we have Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Schumacher and Pic.

11:31 Hulkenberg lapping not far off his benchmark pace as he comes round in 1m23.8s.

11:31 Over in the live@autosport.com questions sack... Hrvoje asks: "Do you think that Ferrari have 'missed it' again with this year's car? I am a fan of Alonso and I think they need to produce something great to accommodate his talent."

11:33 @EliGP objected to being called an "expert" earlier, but here's what he reckons: "As topical as it is, you can only say that it's too early to tell. Last year Ferrari finished the pre-season thinking that it had a winning car, and when the racing started, the reality was very different. The new Ferrari is a completely new car and concept, and it will take time for the team to be able to 'understand' it. The general feeling is that the car has potential, but Ferrari needs to be able to extract it, and that may take some time."

11:35 Perez is racking up the laps now, but was absent for a bit earlier. @OfficialSF1Team explains why: "Reason for the break was that we had a track related structural doubt which needed to be investigated also from experts in Hinwil. Ok now"

11:35 Lots of questions to live@autosport.com about Grosjean and Lotus, who have been inactive for some time. We're trying to find out from the team.

11:37 Of the other frontrunners, Vettel hasn't been out for 15 minutes and has mostly done short runs with single flying laps surrounding by slower tours this morning.

11:37 Hamilton has just come out to start another run in the McLaren.

11:38 And Hamilton immediately finds some time, lapping in 1m23.590s to return to second place, 0.150s behind Hulkenberg.

11:39 Alonso's last appeareance was a nine-lap trip for Ferrari, starting with the 1m24.100s that has him listed fourth right now, and continuing at a slower pace until he dropped into 1m27s.

Mercedes11:39 Schumacher's last blast was a six-lap run in the new Mercedes, mostly in 1m24s but with an early 1m26s and 1m25s.

11:41 Hamilton returns to the pits. After that 1m23.5s, he did one very slow lap then came in.

11:43 Alonso starts his latest run with a 1m24.2s, just a touch slower than his current personal best.

11:44 Now a 1m24.9s from the Ferrari next time past.

11:45 Vettel goes fastest of all.

11:45 A 1m23.343s puts the Red Bull on top.

11:46 The world champion is only 0.097s ahead of previous pacesetter Hulkenberg, but he's back in front nevertheless.

11:47 Vettel set that time on medium tyres.

11:47 An improvement from Ricciardo now, who does a 1m23.618s to go fourth, 0.275s off Hulkenberg.

11:48 Ricciardo used soft tyres for that lap.

11:48 While Vettel backed right off just after that quick time.

11:48 Just 0.275s covering the Red Bull/Force India/McLaren/Toro Rosso top four now.

Sebastian Vettel11:50 Vettel back up to speed and does a 1m23.4s.

11:52 Vettel now pits, so his run was a 1m23.3s, back off to 1m33s, 1m23.4s, then pit.

11:52 And practice wagging a 'one' finger and saying a lot of triumphant things on the radio on the slowing-down lap...?

11:53 Lunchbreak isn't far away, but it's busy on track for now, with Force India, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Sauber and Williams in action.

11:56 Another improvement from Perez, whose Sauber stays seventh but laps in 1m24.219s.

11:56 Quick dip into the live@autosport.com mailbox before we stop...

11:56 Sam asks: "Enjoying the coverage as usual. What do you make of Williams appointing Alex Wurz as 'driver mentor'? Driver coaching is nothing new, but is this what Wurz will be doing? You would imagine that Bottas will benefit from having an experienced driver around, but what of Senna and Maldonado, who do have some F1 experience?"

@EliGP sees this as a good move: "Wurz's experience could be quite valuable for Williams given the team has opted for an inexperienced line-up in Senna and Maldonado, with 26 and 19 GP starts respectively. Wurz has been competing at a very high level since he was 12, when he won the BMX world championship, and has worked with the FIA Institute Academy in preparing young drivers. So the bottom line is that he has plenty of experience Williams's drivers can only benefit from. It certainly won't hurt the team to have him onboard."

11:59 Unless anything dramatic happens imminently, looks like Vettel will end the morning session on top.

12:00 Whereas at Jerez most of the top times were set in the first two hours, here at Catalunya the top spot has continued to change hands regularly, and Vettel is only 0.097s ahead of compatriot Hulkenberg.

12:01 Cars start pitting and team chefs start serving.

12:02 So the order at the day's halfway point is: Vettel, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso, Schumacher, Perez, Senna, Grosjean, Kovalainen and Pic.

12:03 Top lap tally for the morning is Pic on 65, followed by Senna on 56.

12:03 Just seven and nine for Grosjean and Kovalainen respectively amid some issues with the Lotus and Caterham.

12:04 We're off to quiz some Mercedes drivers, and will be back to talk about cars going round the circuit and the press room adventures of AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne in an hour.

12:06 While we're away, you can get more analysis of testing so far, plus the Bahrain Grand Prix situation and all kinds of other issues in our podcast:

AUTOSPORT podcast

12:58 Right, had some good lunch? Enjoyed a podcast? Read some insightful features? Excellent. Then let's go testing some more.

13:00 Green flag and we're back underway.

13:01 Pic spoils AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne's hopes of a belated lunchbreak by immediately heading out.

13:05 Just the Marussia on track still.

13:06 This is the 2011 Virgin, which the team has brought along to give Pic a bit more mileage ahead of his rookie season. The Frenchman will do three days this week, with Glock taking Thursday, and then the 2012 Marussia will appear next week.

13:09 Pic now pits, and the track is quiet again.

13:09 Everyone possibly finishing lunch, which gives Sam chance to do likewise after spending the break quizzing Mercedes people.

Testing13:11 If you missed this morning's session, it started with chilly temperatures and a pretty sunrise, and saw quite competitive action at the front - ending with Vettel fastest by just a few tenths over Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Ricciardo.

13:13 We had just one red flag, for Kovalainen's Caterham parking on circuit with a problem. Lotus was in trouble too:

Chassis issue ends Lotus's day early

13:13 Ricciardo breaks the silence.

13:14 The grandstand is quieter than this morning but the crowd looks bigger - people are congregating in other stands instead.

13:16 Ricciardo is on the silver-branded hard Pirellis.

13:18 Keep your questions coming to live@autosport.com, and we'll do some more answering...

13:18 Rushabh asks: "I wanted to know that if teams only bring one car for testing why can't they do their development on the second car? How can a late launch help in more development time if you're only bringing one car for the test?"

@EliGP explains all: "Teams work on the development of the car in general, not on one car in particular. That may mean spending more time in the windtunnel with a model of the car, or working on new parts it can fit when the car runs for the first time. In fact, most teams don't even have a second chassis ready when they start testing with the first new one."

13:18 Ricciardo commences his stint with 1m31s laps. Given the times and the fact he's on hard tyres, this may well be a long-ish run.

13:20 Tarak wants to know what has Vettel named his 2012 car.

As far as we know, there is no name yet, but we can't wait to hear it. So far we think he has driven Julia, Kate, Kate's Dirty Sister and Luscious Liz.

13:22 Our prediction of a long run for Ricciardo somehow guaranteed he'd promptly pit... After three laps in 1m31s and 1m32s, the Toro Rosso comes in. Circuit empty again.

13:24 Thank you McLaren, sensing our lack of stuff to write, Hamilon leaves the garage.

13:26 @EddStrawF1 has been in the pits scouting for news and has the inside line on Kovalainen's problem this morning: "Caterham suffered a rear track rod failure. Team says it knows why and that the car will be back out"

13:26 So that's pretty much what we predicted when we said the car looked like it had spun and people were 'poking about' around the back of it.

13:27 Hulkenberg is back out for Force India too.

13:29 Hamilton's stint has commenced with laps in 1m29s and 1m28s, so running heavier than this morning.

13:30 And @clubforce tells us the plan for Hulkenberg: "After the aero programme this morning, we will do some long runs with Nico later this afternoon. He's about to head back out."

13:32 Hamilton's times are picking up as he puts in a couple of laps in 1m27s. Hulkenberg has started with 1m25s.

13:33 Turns out we forgot Kinky Kylie from the list of Vettel's names for his Red Bulls. And Randy Mandy. Sorry!

13:33 And it's also prompted you to suggest a few for the RB8.

13:34 Jakov bitstring Mandic recommends 'Nosey Rosie' and Mikko Jaakkola suggests 'Duckface Doris'.

13:34 You're really not fans of these 2012 noses, are you...?

Red Bull13:37 Zane Boddy recommends Beaky Betty, and in a bid for gender equality, Pread suggests Duckbill Dave.

13:38 Actually from that angle the RB8 looks prettier than much of the field...

13:38 Back on track, we have Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez and Pic lapping.

13:39 After getting down to 1m27s, Hamilton's pace has gone back up to 1m28s.

13:39 Ricciardo looks like he's running heavy still as he does 1m30s and 1m31s.

13:40 Alonso and Schumacher set off now.

13:44 Hamilton comes round for the 12th lap of this run.

13:44 Now his times are back into the 1m29s where he started.

13:45 Ricciardo and Alonso come into the pits.

13:46 As does Hamilton.

13:48 And so does Schumacher.

13:52 Vettel is out now and the slightly mad timing screen tells us he's setting personal bests in all three sectors. But he isn't.

13:53 The champion comes round in 1m25.157s.

13:54 No one doing anything rapid at present, but here are the stints that recently ended:

13:54 Hamilton was on a 13-lap run, averaging 1m28.5s.

13:55 Alonso, nipped out, did a 1m28s, then pitted again.

13:55 Schumacher did three laps in 1m27s and 1m28s before pitting.

13:55 And Ricciardo did six laps mostly in 1m31s.

13:56 But right now, our current top two Vettel and Hulkenberg are on track, and we're crossing our fingers they're going to have a light-fuel glory shoot-out for German honour as they sit just 0.097s apart at present.

13:57 Except Hulkenberg just pitted after a run that averaged 1m24.8s over five laps.

13:58 Vettel is continuing round, lapping in 1m26s.

13:59 And Vettel ends that stint, having averaged 1m26.1s over four laps.

14:00 Looks like Hamilton is embarking on another long run as he begins in 1m28s.

14:01 This may be a race simulation if this stint is also a similar length to a run between pitstops, as the last was.

14:01 Two hours to go, and Vettel is still quickest ahead of Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso and Schumacher.

14:02 Pic's day of gathering mileage is going to plan, and he tops the chart with 86 laps covered so far. Also busy are Senna on 62 laps, Hamilton on 63 and Hulkenberg on 60.

14:03 Hamilton's 13 lap run a few minutes ago was the longest continuous stint anyone has done today.

14:04 Now Hamilton is on hard tyres, with Alonso on mediums and Senna on softs also lapping. Ricciardo is out too and we're about to squint at his tyres.

Bruno Senna, Williams@eddstrawF1 has been down at Williams, and reports that after aero work this morning, Senna is now doing set-up configuration.

14:07 Vettel leaves the pits again.

14:09 Today's main event, just before testing started, was the unveiling of the new Mercedes W03. Schumacher is at the wheel today and won't be speaking to the press until the end of the session, but his team-mate Rosberg has been sharing his thoughts:

Rosberg says it's time to deliver

14:10 Hamilton is now onto the ninth lap of his current run after his earlier 13-lap stint. Times are in the 1m28s, 1m29s range.

14:12 Quick start to Vettel's latest stint - a 1m23.463s.

14:12 That's just a tenth off his time-topping lap from earlier, and including a new best of the day in sector two.

14:14 Now Vettel backs right off. Last time he followed a slow lap with another very quick one, but instead it's back into the pits.

14:14 Hamilton continues onto lap 12, circulating in 1m27s.

14:16 Ricciardo pits after six laps averaging 1m31.4s.

14:17 Schumacher comes out to play in the W03.

14:18 And here's an intriguing story about a man who isn't in F1 anymore:

Trulli says he was offered Ferrari drive

14:19 Senna and Hulkenberg pit, leaving Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher and Pic on the circuit.

14:20 This is proving to be a bit of an awkward day for Sauber, @OfficialSF1Team: "Back in the garage. Small mechanical issue with rear anti roll bar but time consuming to fix as the gearbox needs to be removed."

14:20 Hamilton completes his 14th lap in a 1m29.331s, as Alonso trails him round on a 1m26.867s.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus14:23 No Grosjean and Lotus out this afternoon, and here's the inside line on why:

Grosjean: New Lotus chassis felt strange

14:24 We briefly thought we might see a bit of a dice between Alonso and Hamilton, but the McLaren pitted as the Ferrari blasted past.

14:25 Alonso then pits too, leaving just Pic on the circuit for a moment before Vettel rejoins.

14:26 Hamilton's stint was 15 laps, the majority in 1m27s and 1m28s before a stray 1m36s at the end.

14:28 Vettel immediately sets a new best time of the day as he laps in 1m23.265s.

14:28 That lap increased his advantage over Hulkenberg to a still-tight 0.175s.

14:30 Once again, Vettel then backs right off. But will he go for a second flying lap as he was doing this morning?

14:31 Yes, he does - it's another mid-1m23s, so not as quick as before, but faster than everyone from third place back in the current list.

14:33 Those times came on the 'silver' hard tyres, whereas this morning's pace was set on mediums.

14:34 Ricciardo comes past on his out-lap, followed immediately by Senna.

14:35 A new best of 1m25.775s from Senna keeps him eighth.

14:35 But we're more excited about getting hold of a picture of the Jaime Alguersuari fan banner from the grandstand opposite.

Banner14:36 And here it is.

14:37 Senna had to pass Ricciardo on that lap, so possibly more to come this time.

14:37 Not quite, but he's just 33 thousandths slower.

14:38 Hulkenberg heads out as Hamilton comes round in a 1m28.788s.

14:41 Incidentally, while Spanish fans pine for Alguersuari, his erstwhile team-mate Sebastien Buemi has tweeted that he is on the way to Barcelona.

14:42 But as we doubt his Red Bull reserve role extends to elbowing Vettel or Mark Webber out of the RB8 cockpit for a day, we reckon Buemi is coming to watch and hang out.

14:42 Hamilton comes round in 1m28.322s. Hulkenberg matches that, crossing the line little more than two seconds behind.

Petrov14:46 We haven't seen Kovalainen and the Caterham out since a track rod problem sent the car into a spin earlier. From the look of this picture of Vitaly Petrov sneaking a peak of the CT01 under the covers as it returned to the pits on a truck, the Russian isn't allowed to see it until Thursday...

14:46 Presents have to stay wrapped until Christmas, clearly.

14:47 Red flag.

14:48 The Toro Rosso has stopped at Turn 8.

14:48 Second stoppage of the day after Kovalainen's earlier problem.

14:49 There isn't a camera on the location where the Toro Rosso has parked.

14:49 Frankly, given our love of describing red flag scenarios in tedious detail, AUTOSPORT Live is gutted.

14:49 We're having to just imagine marshals running around, and low-loaders arriving, and team members with covers.

14:49 But we can amuse ourselves in other ways.

14:51 Like with genuinely useful information about testing. @eddstrawF1 has been checking in with Mercedes about progress on the W03's first day and learns that the car is running well, though the team didn't begin proper running until mid-morning due to track conditions. Mercedes is now aiming to maximuse track time early on for reliability work and is focusing on set-up over long runs today.

14:52 Barcelona moves further down Sam Tremayne's league table of testing venues as it lacks Jerez's TV replay facility.

14:52 Its truck was also slower this morning, and he didn't like the hotel or hire car either, and he hurt his thumb on a chair.

14:53 Sam is now arguing that in most respects Barcelona is actually better than Jerez.

14:54 We're kicking him out and bringing @eddstrawF1 to the desk for the final run-in instead.

14:55 With recovery of the Toro Rosso continuing, we're going to do some shameless plugging.

14:56 The latest AUTOSPORT Podcast is available and features a full analysis of testing so far.

14:56 And AUTOSPORT Plus subscribers can relive some memories with our countdown of past testing shocks:

F1's top 10 winter testing surprises

14:58 We've found a sentimental banner (estimated at four foot x seven foot by AUTOSPORT's banner analyser Sam Tremayne) in the grandstands.

14:58 "Six champions... it's true. But we're still waiting for you Robert". In Polish national colours.

14:58 Poignant sentiment, just over a year on from Robert Kubica's last apperance in an F1 car.

14:59 Just over an hour to go of the first day of Barcelona testing, and little change in the order of late, but Vettel's fastest time of 1m23.265s is relatively recent.

14:59 Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso, Schumacher, Perez, Senna, Grosjean, Kovalainen and Pic follow on.

15:00 Pic is now up to a mammoth 107 laps, while with Hamilton on 87 and Senna on 85.

15:00 Back to green.

15:01 Pic sets off for lap number 108, with Hulkenberg and Alonso out quickly too.

15:01 To finish the 4pm recap, lowest mileages of the day are Kovalainen - still to rejoin after Caterham's track rod problem - on just nine laps and Grosjean, who only completed seven laps before a chassis issue halted Lotus.

15:02 Vettel joins the track, as Alonso starts a flying lap.

15:02 Pic onto a flier as well.

15:02 Hamilton also sets off.

15:03 Alonso not far off his best pace of the day as he does a 1m24.4s.

15:03 Pic starts off with a modest 1m32.754s.

Alonso15:05 Our sole justification for running this picture is because we think the hat looks a bit like a colourful pudding.

15:06 Now wearing a crash helmet, Alonso is the fastest man on track at present as he laps in 1m25s.

15:07 The track temperature is dropping as the day draws in. It was 31 degrees a few hours ago, but is now 24 degrees. Still better than this morning's 0.5 degrees.

15:07 A new best from Senna, who does a 1m25.734s.

15:08 It's only a 0.04s improvement on his earlier mark and he stays eighth. The improvement came in sector two, where he did a new personal best.

15:09 Good news from @MyCaterhamF1: "right.. bodywork's back on, fire up was done successfully and Heikki will soon be back out"

15:09 Relatively busy track with six cars out now: Red Bull, Force India, McLaren, Ferrari, Williams and Marussia.

15:10 Make that seven - here comes Perez in the Sauber after the earlier adjustments.

15:10 Another little gain by Senna, who does a 1m25.711s.

15:10 The Williams is still 1.5s off next man ahead Perez.

15:11 That was a seven-lap run for Alonso with five flying laps, starting in mid-1m24s then going to mid-1m25s and mid-1m26s.

15:11 The Ferrari is now back in the pits.

15:12 Will Alonso hop out and reclaim his hat, or rejoin swiftly?

Sergio Perez15:12 Perez commences his run with a 1m29.281s, a similar pace to what Vettel is doing at present.

15:16 Hamilton does a 1m28.608s. On his seventh flier of a run. Been a couple of very slow laps in there, so either data gathering or seeing how the tyres respond to being cooled off a little.

15:17 Perez is now down to 1m26.071s, but still almost 2s off his best.

15:17 Pic comes in, pits and rejoins. Pitstop practice is one of his learning goals for this week as he continues to build towards his grand prix debut.

15:19 Kovalainen rejoins after the earlier rear trackrod problem. Only has nine laps under his belt so Caterham could do with 40 minutes of good running to salvage something from the day.

15:19 Pic does his best lap yet, a 1m28.026s.

15:20 The GP2 graduate is also showing he's fit enough for F1 by doing that on his 119th lap of the day.

Pic15:20 The grand prix distance here is 66 laps, so by the end of the afternoon he'll surely be on two race lengths or even more.

15:21 Kovalainen's first flying lap is a 1m27.738s, just off his best from before his issue.

15:23 Senna pits after a 10-lap run averaging in 1m26.2s and including his quickest times of the days - a run of 1m25.7s.

15:23 Hulkenberg and Hamilton rejoin in quick succession.

15:24 Just them and Kovalainen, who is doing 1m27s and 1m28s, on the circuit now.

15:26 Just a quick outing for Hamilton that time around, though it did take him past the 100-lap mark for the day - the only man other than Pic to get there.

15:26 Still on track, Hulkenberg does a 1m29.310s, while Kovalainen is up to 15 laps now after his long delay.

15:27 The track temperature has dropped a little further, to 23 degrees. Just 10 in the air. And for humidity fans, it's 36 per cent.

15:28 Kovalainen pits so Hulkenberg now has the Circuit de Catalunya to himself.

Force India15:29 Not that he'll exactly take advantage of that freedom to throw a party or anything, as you might when home alone, he'll just carry on and do an 85th lap of the day.

15:29 In any case Perez now comes out to claim part of the track for Mexico.

15:32 Hulkenberg's last lap past was a 1m28.770s on his fourth flying lap of the run, and now he drops to 1m29s. Perez is in 1m28s.

15:34 Kovalainen is out again, making up for lost time some more.

15:36 The Caterham driver does his best time of the day so far with a 1m26.389s.

15:36 That takes him past the absent Grosjean into ninth, and puts him 0.6s behind Senna.

15:36 Engine sounds from the pits...

15:37 And out comes Vettel.

15:37 Will he put on another spurt and lower the benchmark further?

15:38 After a string of sprint outings of one or two flying laps, Vettel's last run was 10 laps so he might be ending the day with longer stints.

15:38 It's been over an hour since we saw the Mercedes, and here's why: the team is chasing a hydraulic problem on the W03.

15:39 Hamilton comes out to join Hulkenberg, Vettel, Perez and Kovalainen.

15:41 Nothing to threaten his previous best from Vettel on this stint by the look of things, as he starts off with a 1m28.577s.

15:41 Alonso is coming out too.

15:42 Hulkenberg is now on his 94th lap of the day - could be the third man to pass 100 laps if Senna (on 97 now) doesn't rejoin shortly.

15:42 Kovalainen is lapping in 1m27s.

15:43 Hulkenberg comes in, presumably alarmed by the prospect of reaching 100 laps. Kovalainen pits too.

15:44 A new personal best in sector two for Hamilton at 31.653s.

15:44 The McLaren is within 0.325s of Vettel's benchmark at present.

15:45 But despite improving in sector three as well, Hamilton's lap is not an improvement overall.

15:46 Will Hulkenberg go for glory though? @clubforce: "That's the long runs done for @NicoHulkenberg. Time for a couple of short runs before the chequered flag comes out in 15 mins."

15:46 Vettel passes through the pits and rejoins, then onto a flying lap.

15:47 Hamilton comes in after three laps, having started off with a slow 1m32s then done two 1m24s.

15:48 Relatively quick pace from Alonso as he does 1m25s, while Vettel is in 1m28s.

15:48 Kovalainen comes out again too.

15:50 Vettel continues to luxuriate in the comfortable armchair that is the 1m28 bracket with a 28.658, as Alonso does a 1m25.901s.

15:51 Vettel teeters on the brink of the 1m29s with a 1m28.951s.

15:51 Kovalainen is getting in some more flying laps for Caterham after his earlier trackrod issues.

15:52 The Finn improves to a 1m26.035s, and though he stays ninth, he is now within 0.3s of Senna.

Kovalainen15:53 And, from earlier, here's the Finnish sign language for 'trackrod problem'.

15:54 Yet another 1m28s lap from Vettel. The Red Bull looks as consistent as ever, just as it did at Jerez. Ominous.

15:54 Alonso said at the end of the Jerez test that he needed 100 laps a day from Ferrari here. He's on his 71st. With six minutes to go, he's unlikely to hit the century mark. But still plenty of work getting done by Ferrari.

15:55 Hamilton's last run doesn't look like it will threaten Vettel as he does a 1m24.921s to start.

15:56 Hulkenberg is coming out again too. Force India promised short runs - will it take a shot at the top spot?

15:56 Or will the German immediately pit? Yes, that's what he did.

15:56 No longer the king of the 1m28s, Vettel is now the king of the 1m29s.

15:57 Alonso is the fastest man currently on track with a 1m26.776s.

15:58 Kovalainen is onto his 30th lap, so Caterham has managed to salvage its day with a bit of late running.

15:58 Alonso dives into the pits then rejoins.

16:00 Chequred flag out.

16:00 Perez first to take it as he completes his 66th lap.

16:00 Then Hulkenberg, as Kovalainen and Alonso head in.

16:01 Hamilton crossed the line to start his 113th lap a few seconds before the session ended.

16:02 Only the McLaren left on track as the Catalunya day comes to an end.

16:02 We have the not-so-strange sight of 1 VETTEL atop a timing screen.

16:03 After the world champion come Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso, Schumacher, Perez, Senna, Kovalainen, Grosjean and Pic.

16:03 Two red flags today, courtesy of Kovalainen's Caterham and Ricciardo's Toro Rosso.

16:04 While Grosjean was sidelined early when Lotus discovered a chassis problem after just seven laps.

16:04 Top mileage tally for the day was Pic on 121 laps, followed by Hamilton on 114, Hulkenberg and Senna both on 97.

16:05 Our team at Catalunya will now be pounding the paddock for all the news and reaction from today, and AUTOSPORT Live will resume at 9am local time tomorrow. Bye until then.

  FASTEST TIMES
P Driver Team Time
1  VettelRed Bull 1m23.265s
2  HulkenbergForce India 1m23.440s  +0.175
3  HamiltonMcLaren 1m23.590s  +0.325
4  RicciardoToro Rosso 1m23.618s  +0.353
5  AlonsoFerrari 1m24.100s  +0.835
6  SchumacherMercedes 1m24.150s  +0.885
7  PerezSauber 1m24.219s  +0.954
8  SennaWilliams 1m25.711s  +2.446
9  KovalainenCaterham 1m26.035s  +2.770
10  GrosjeanLotus 1m26.809s  +3.544
11  PicMarussia 1m28.026s  +4.761
All timing unofficial. Updated: 16:03 GMT
  OVERVIEW DAY ONE  
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mainly sunny High Temp: 10°C / 50°F
Track: Dry
  INFOBOX
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