BARCELONA, Spain -- Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado was the fastest at a Formula One testing session on Thursday.
The Williams driver's lap time of 1 minute, 22.391 seconds at Catalunya Circuit was nearly a second quicker than Michael Schumacher for Mercedes.
Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi was third. Jenson Button of McLaren and Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top five on the next-to-last day of the preseason's penultimate session.
Red Bull driver Mark Webber filled in for F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, the Australian finishing more than two seconds off the pace.
Felipe Massa of Ferrari was just behind Webber in seventh, with Force India, Marussia and Caterham filling out the grid.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press