Jerez: Former double world champion Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest time on the final day of Formula One testing on Friday, ending a frustrating week for the Italian giants on a high.
His time of 1min 18.877sec, off 39 laps, was good enough to keep out French driver Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso, who timed 1:19.597 for second place.
World champion Sebastian Vettel, in a Red Bull, was third fastest in 1:19.606 with former champion Lewis Hamilton taking fourth spot with a time of 1:19.640 in his McLaren.
Alonso's best time was the second fastest of the week for a 2012 car - just 0.429sec slower than the quickest, set by Lotus driver Romain Grosjean on Thursday.
"I still think there is a long way to go until Australia (the first race of the season on March 18), in terms of how many days and how many tests we can do," Alonso told www.autosport.com.
"The progress in these four days has been quite big for us. Maybe not in performance or times or whatever, as I don't know what the times were like in the first two days or what were the track conditions in the first two days compared to now, but definitely all the tests we did and all the understanding of the car has been positive for us.
"We will arrive to Barcelona much more prepared than how we arrived in Jerez."
Vettel's progress in the morning session was slowed by an electrical problem which limited the German star to just two installation laps.
But he then put in a comfortable 48 laps in the afternoon.
"I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, I think we managed to get a lot done," said Vettel.
"Of course, this morning was a bit of a setback but these things happen. Something like this is simply part of testing, this is the reason why we are here.
"So we go back to the factory, look at everything we have learned from this week and prepare for the next test in Barcelona, where I’m looking forward to putting some more miles on the car."
The teams now head for Barcelona for the next winter test which takes place from Feb 21-24.
1. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari) 1:18.877 (39 laps), 2. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:19.597 (80), 3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault) 1:19.606 (50), 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:19.640 (86), 5. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault) 1:19.729 (95), 6. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:19.834 (76), 7. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India-Mercedes) 1:19.977 (90), 8. Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams-Renault) 1:20.132 (125), 9. Jarno Trulli (ITA/Caterham-Renault) 1:22.214 (117).