Hamilton fastest on Day 3 in Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04

Sunshine at last in Barcelona for the penultimate day of pre-season testing and Lewis Hamilton made merry for Mercedes AMG by setting the fastest time yet.

Hamilton sent his F1 W04 around the track in 1:20.558, that’s more than a second faster than we’ve seen all winter at Barcelona, beating the previous best by Sergio Perez (McLaren, 1:21.848). Second quickest overnight was Felipe Massa (Ferrari, 1:21.266) suggesting the F138 is not the same dog the F2012 turned out to be. Third on the lap charts was a resurgent Adrian Sutil (Force India, 1:21.627). So the top three, then, all went quicker than Perez’s old benchmark.

Mark Webber (Red Bull, 1:22.658) had his last day in the RB9 before heading to Melbourne and could only manage the seventh fastest time. Webber only registered 59 laps for the day and was a late starter due to the team adding new parts to his car.

“We had a few small issues with the car today which delayed us a couple of times and while it wasn’t ideal I think we still learned plenty,” said Webber. “In terms of the overall feeling at the end of my spell of testing, I think we’ve done well and we have made a step forward.

“Looking at the first race, I think it’s going to be a tight grand prix. There are a lot of quick cars out there and hopefully we have one of them.”

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was a little more circumspect than you might have expected. “There’s still a lot of work ahead of us to get to where we want to be but the team is doing a great job. Whilst we’ve been focusing on our own performance, we definitely haven’t seen the full potential of our competitors yet, so it’s difficult to predict where we might be.”

Kimi Raikkonen was due to test for Lotus but must have had a huge night on the turps as he was a now show, meaning Romain Grosjean and test driver Davide Valsecchi shared time in the car.

There’s now just one more day of testing remaining before the teams hit the track in Australia in two weeks. Who’s getting excited?!

2013 F1 pre-season testing – Barcelona II (Day 3)

  1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes – 1:20.558 (117 laps)
  2. Felipe Massa Ferrari – 1:21.266 +0.708 (94 laps)
  3. Adrian Sutil Force India – 1:21.627 +1.069 (109 laps)
  4. Pastor Maldonado Williams – 1:22.305 +1.747 (34 laps)
  5. Valtteri Bottas Williams – 1:22.468 +1.910 (31 laps)
  6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – 1:22.553 +1.995 (99 laps)
  7. Mark Webber Red Bull – 1:22.658 +2.100 (59 laps)
  8. Sergio Perez McLaren – 1:22.694 +2.136 (101 laps)
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 1:23.223 +2.665 (114 laps)
  10. Romain Grosjean Lotus – 1:23.380 +2.822 (46 laps)
  11. Davide Valsecchi Lotus – 1:23.448 +2.890 (16 laps)
  12. Jules Bianchi Marussia – 1:24.028 +3.470 (74 laps)
  13. Giedo van der Garde Caterham – 1:24.235 +3.677 (126 laps)