Felipe Massa posted the fastest time of the week at Jerez on Thursday, half a second up on the previous best.
As the sun once again shone down on the Spanish circuit on Thursday morning, the third day of the pre-season action got underway.
Massa moved to the top of the timesheets during the morning's session when the Ferrari driver posted a 1:17.879 during a short run on the soft tyres.
The Brazilian, who is hoping to launch a title bid of his own this season, followed that up a little while later with another lap that was only marginally slower on a similar short run.
Nico Rosberg finished second quickest on the day, 0.887s adrift of Massa, demonstrating for the first time what the Mercedes W04 is capable of if the car runs smoothly. Rosberg amassed a very busy 148 laps.
Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel also hit the 100-lap mark as the Red Bull racer, driving the RB9 for the first time, was third quickest, a further 0.3s down.
Kimi Raikkonen, another driver making his pre-season debut, was fourth quickest in his Lotus E21. However, the Finn covered just 40 laps as a large part of the morning was spent ensuring he is comfortable in his new car.
Jean-Eric Vergne was fifth for Toro Rosso, finishing ahead of Force India's James Rossiter. The Brit test driver had a few issues during his morning stint when he hit one his mechanics as he missed his braking point into the pits.
"I hold my hands up, that was totally my fault," he said. "We were doing some aero runs and everything was cold, the brakes were too cold, the tyres were too cold.
"Thank God Marcus is okay and he's only got a few bruises. I'm sure I'll be buying him many beers and he won't be forgetting it soon!"
Another driver to run into problems was Jenson Button who brought testing to its conclusion five minutes early on Thursday when he broke down out on track.
Esteban Gutierrez made his Sauber debut with the Mexican racer setting the eighth fastest time as he completed 110 laps.
01. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m17.879s 85 laps
02. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m18.766s +0.887 148 laps
03. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m19.052s +1.173 102 laps
04. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m19.200s +1.321 40 laps
05. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.247s +1.368 85 laps
06. James Rossiter Force India 1m19.303s +1.424 42 laps
07. Jenson Button McLaren 1m19.603s +1.724 83 laps
08. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m19.934s +2.055 110 laps
09. Max Chilton Marussia 1m21.269s +3.390 78 laps
10. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m21.575s +3.696 86 laps
11. Charles Pic Caterham 1m22.352s +4.473 57 laps
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1m23.729s +5.850 7 laps
Jerez Day Three: The Pictures
Any reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of 365 Media Group is strictly forbidden.