Force India’s Adrian Sutil clocked the second fastest time while Narain Karthikeyan in the Hispania Racing car dropped nearly two seconds off his Wednesday’s pace as the first Formula One (F1) pre-season testing concluded here Thursday.

The 34-year old Karthikeyan, returning to F1 after a five-season break, clocked a best of one minute, 16.535 seconds over 63 laps as against the 1:14.472 he did the previous day while focusing on different set-ups. The Indian completed 188 laps in the three-day session.

“I felt a little more comfortable with the car, the more running you do the more you get used to the brakes, the engine and the car in general,” said Karthikeyan.

“I think we planned the programme and we could carry it on. We mainly tried different setups on the car.

“All in all, I feel quite satisfied with the day’s work. I know I can improve a lot more, for sure, because I am driving the F1 car after a long break.

“Besides that, we tried different compounds of tyres today, as yesterday, just to get the feeling, to see how they work.”

The teams move to Jerez for the next round of testing scheduled for Feb 10-13.

Meanwhile, Sutil was back on duty for the Force India on the final day of the first pre-season test. The German completed more than 117 laps with the VJM03, the first time he has driven the car since the tyre test in Abu Dhabi last November.

Sutil’s best time was 1:13.201 as compared to Renault’s Robert Kubica who topped the time charts with a 1:13.144 while putting in 95 laps.

As with Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg over the previous two days, Sutil’s programme was focused on collecting further data on the performance of the Pirelli tyres under different set-ups and fuel loads.

The team will use the new car named VJM04 in the next test session.

“It felt good to be in the car again after a few months away! Everything went pretty smoothly, as we expected with the VJM03, so we could complete the work we wanted to do,” said Sutil.

“Paul and Nico had collected a lot of data on the tyres in the previous two days, so my aim today was to continue this work on alternative set-ups and fuel loads. We got all the information we needed and I feel like we understand the tyre performance pretty well now.”

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