Brazil's Felipe Massa topped the time charts on the third day of pre-season Formula One testing Thursday as world champion Sebastian Vettel marked his first appearance of the winter with third place.
Massa, whose future at Ferrari had been the subject of much speculation after his disappointing eighth place finish last season, clocked 1min 17.879sec as he thrived in the absence of teammate Fernando Alonso, who is sitting out the four-day session.
His time just edged the week's previous best set by Lotus driver Romain Grosjean on Wednesday.
Massa was the only driver on Thursday to dip below the 1min 18sec mark with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg setting the second fastest time of 1:18.766 and Vettel, in the new Red Bull RB9, clocking 1:19.052.
Rosberg's performance was a welcome relief after the German had managed just 15 laps on Tuesday, his track time limited by mechanical trouble.
His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton's car had suffered a brake failure on its first outing on Wednesday.
Vettel did over 100 laps before heading back to the pits where his mechanics quickly erected a black screen to frustrate the prying eyes of rival teams eager for a look at the team who have guided the German to three successive world titles.
The day's most dramatic incident occured when British driver James Rossiter accidentally collided with one of his Force India mechanics, who escaped serious injury.