SETTING THE PACE: Romain Grosjean on the way to making his Lotus fastest around the Catalunya track on Feb 22 2015.. Image: AP / Manu Fernandez
BARCELONA, Spain - Romain Grosjean steered his Lotus to the fastest lap of the week during Formula 1 pre-season testing on Sunday while Fernando Alonso crashed his McLaren and was taken to hospital.
Pastor Maldonado had already put Lotus on the top of the time sheet at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday and Saturday; Grosjean bettered that by setting the fastest time of the four-day test with a lap of 1min 24.067.
That was after the session was halted because Alonso went off -track at Turn 3 and slammed the right side of his McLaren into the wall. McLaren later said the double F1 champion was "conscious and spoke with the doctors" before being taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital for "precautionary checks”.
Alonso's crash came after a difficult preseason for McLaren in its switch to Honda power units. A faulty seal twice limited Jenson Button's runs earlier in the test week and he was scheduled to drive on Sunday afternoon but McLaren called it quits after Alonso's crash.
Nico Rosberg, Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat and Sauber's Felipe Nasr all clocked laps within a second of Grosjean.
Rosberg put Mercedes ahead of Ferrari - this time driven by Sebastian Vettel - for the second consecutive day after the Italian team had proved faster through the first six days of testing. Rosberg, 2014 championship runner-up after team mate Lewis Hamilton was Sunday’s busiest driver with 131 laps.
SAINZ HIT SAME WALL
The grid's other Spaniard, young Toro Rosso newcomer Carlos Sainz, also hit the wall exiting Turn 3. He said: "A strong wind made track conditions very tricky and the car was difficult to drive but despite the wind things went well.
“I did several short runs that looked good. Unfortunately, in the afternoon, I made a mistake at Turn 3 - not the best place to do that because the barrier is close at that point."
The third and final set of tests will also be at the Catalunya circuit from February 26 - March 1 2015 before the first race of the season in Australia on March 15.
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