Day 3 at Jerez underway under heavy clouds

Lewis Hamilton back on track driving the McLaren MP4/25 early on at Jerez

Feb.12 (GMM) After a better day of weather in Spain on Thursday, day three of the Jerez test started with the threat of rain looming.

Felipe Massa at the wheel of the Ferrari F10

The full driver line-up at Jerez for the third  day is: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India), Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), Pedro de La Rosa (Sauber), Rubens Barrichello (Williams), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Vitaly Petrov (Renault) and Virgin Racing whose car is only likely to run in the afternoon with both their drivers, Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi, present.

The opening day of the winter’s second group test on Wednesday was badly affected by rain, but the tarmac was essentially dry throughout Thursday. With patches of damp and a fast drying track the day’s activities got underway with, Sutil first out followed by everyone except Glock whose Virgin racing VR-01 awaits spares.

“For Friday the weather forecast is not really promising, but we will cope with what we get,” said Sauber’s engineering boss Giampaolo Dall’Ara.

The forecast is bad news for Sebastian Vettel, who is scheduled to finally get his first taste of Red Bull’s RB6 on Friday.

Early casualty BMW Sauber C29 of Pedro De La Rosa is returned to the pits

He stood trackside on Thursday, and as the close of play approached, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that he had heard mixed weather forecasts for Friday.

“The English say rain, the Germans say dry!” said the German.

Very early on Friday morning, there were spots of rain at Jerez.

Interestingly, after shuffling Vitaly Petrov out of the Renault cockpit on Thursday so that Robert Kubica could test in the dry weather, the Russian rookie has now been scheduled to drive the R30 on rainy Friday.

Kamui Kobayashi pipped Sebastien Buemi to the best time on dry Thursday, but in fact the Japanese set the time three minutes after the official test day had concluded.

The Sauber’s fast time was also achieved “with a lighter car”, the Swiss team admitted.