- Associated Press - Thursday, February 9, 2012

JEREZ, SPAIN (AP) - The new Mercedes car topped Formula One preseason testing for a second straight day, while Lotus was quickest of the season’s new competitors.

Nico Rosberg was fastest around the Jerez circuit on Thursday with a lap of 1 minute, 17.613 seconds, following Michael Schumacher’s leading pace on Wednesday.

French driver Romain Grosjean in a Lotus was the fastest in the 2012 designs at 1:18.419. It was more than eight-tenths of a second faster than two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who was driving for the first time.

Lewis Hamilton’s first spin in the new McLaren placed him fourth ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso. Fernando Alonso kicked off his Ferrari campaign with the seventh-fastest time.

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