--
 
Roadblocks in SA: 8 things to know

Can an officer search your car at a roadblock? Do you have the right to film the police? Do you know your rights?

SA's 7 worst in-car distractions

'When distracted, drivers’ reaction times are slower and they are much more prone to crash,' says the AA.

Alonso heats up testing track

2013-02-22 07:41

LEADING THE PACK: Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap time in F1's pre-season testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya

ALAN BALDWIN

BARCELONA, Spain - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso kept the home fans happy with the fastest time in Formula 1's pre-season testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday February 21, 2013.

The Spaniard lapped the circuit with a best time of 1min21.875, the fastest of the week so far, which he set on the soft tyre in the morning before most teams focused on race simulations.

MAKING HIS MARK

Thursday was the double champion's final day in the F138 car this week, after having his first run in it only on Tuesday, with Brazilian Felipe Massa testing on Friday (Feb 22).

Lewis Hamilton's fastest time in qualifying at the circuit in last year's Spanish GP Grand Prix was 1min21.707 while Alonso, who ended the season runner-up to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, clocked 1min22.302.

Alonso said: "We tried various aerodynamic configurations and for the first time, we made some set-up changes to get a good understanding of tyre behaviour and degradation. With every change we made, the car reacted as I expected.

"Once again this year, the tyres will be one of the crucial aspects to manage: they are softer and quicker, but also less consistent and they degrade rapidly with every lap. We will have a lot of work to do to understand how best to balance the car, but that applies to all the teams."

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg was second on the test time sheets for Sauber, 0.285sec slower than Alonso, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean third for Lotus after completing a full race distance on a cloudy afternoon.

BUTTON AND PEREZ

McLaren's Jenson Button, whose new Mexican team mate Sergio Perez was fastest on Wednesday, ended the penultimate day seventh quickest.

Adrian Sutil, returning to the cockpit for the first time in more than a year with the hope of securing the Force India race seat, did 78 laps with the eighth best time and ahead of Australian Mark Webber in Red Bull.

Frenchman Jules Bianchi, his rival for the seat, will be testing on Friday when rain is expected.

The season will start in Melbourne, Australia, on March 17, 2013.

NEXT ON WHEELS24X

Inside Wheels24

Rosberg downplays talk of easy title win

Nico Rosberg brushed aside any suggestions that he will enjoy an easy drive to his first Drivers' championship after cruising to a seventh consecutive victory at the 2016 Russian GP.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.