Barcelona: Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella posted the eighth fastest time while completing 97 laps in the VJM02, which displayed immaculate reliability for the third day on the trot at the Circuit de Catalunya here.

Fisichella’s best lap of 1 min 21.545 secs was better than Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi (1:21.569) and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton (1:21.657) whose first experience with the new aero package of the MP4-24 concluded with a crash after 86 laps.

Replacing teammate Adrian Sutil behind the wheel, Fisichella continued the team’s programme of evaluating different set-up options, aerodynamic improvements and tyre testing.

Satisfied with the outing, Fisichella said he was now looking forward to race simulation on the fourth and final day.

“We had some good reliability again today and could go through the programme as planned. We did a lot of set up work, which we needed to do after the limited running in Jerez. I feel that the mechanical grip is good so we need to concentrate on the aero package now.

Technical director James Key said it was a highly productive day for the outfit.

“We completed some more work on tyres, comparing new and older sets, and began to unlock the difference between the compounds. We also tried some new aero parts, tweaking the bodywork, a new rear wing and some parts around the front wing and the wheel spinners, which seemed to work as intended.” he said.

Jenson Button (1:19.127), driving the Brawn GP 001, posted the best time of the day to better Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (1:20.168), who carried out a race simulation. — PTI

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper