Hamilton sets the pace on the Circuit de Catalunya penultimate test day

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Lewis Hamilton ended his final day of preseason testing on top in Barcelona. The new Mercedes works driver obvious has no regrets on leaving the McLaren Formula One team to start anew.

The 2008 Formula One World Champion again proved that the new Mercedes W04 may indeed be a contender for the title this coming season. Lewis Hamilton was able to add 117 tours of the circuit in Barcelona, Spain while on a dry track. His best unofficial lap time was a 1:20.558 on his final test day in the new car.

“It was great to have a dry track today for my final day of testing, and we were able to get through all the test items that we wanted to achieve by the end of my programme,” said the Briton.

It was the first day for the teams to actually stick with their programs as the weather finally cooperated. Hamilton used the soft compound Pirelli tyre in the morning as he did short runs along with setup changes to evaluate the tyre wear. Long runs in the afternoon aided the Mercedes engineers to continue their aerodynamics evaluation. The First Grand Prix in Australia is just around the corner.

Hamilton commented: “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. The guys are working so hard at the factory and here at the track; it's been really nice to get to know everyone in the garage and how they work together over the past few weeks. The reliability, the mileage and the step-by-step improvements that we have achieved during the three tests are all very encouraging.”

His German teammate, Nico Rosberg, will run the final preseason test day for the Mercedes work team tomorrow.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari F138
Felipe Massa, Ferrari F138

Photo by: XPB Images

Felipe Massa had a good day until near the end. The Scuderia Ferrari F1 team nearly put in a full day of work without an interruption until the 30 minutes when an issue with left front upright caused him to stop on track. Still it was a positive day as the Brazilian set the second fastest lap at 1:21.266 plus put an additional 94 laps on F138.

On his final testing day, Massa was able to do turn speed runs, and different tyre and aerodynamic evaluations. The Ferrari team also had Massa run pit stop simulations plus testing the Pirelli soft compound. Even with early end of the day, the team and Massa had “a positive day”, and Fernando Alonso will completed their final day in Barcelona tomorrow.

It would appear that the Sahara Force India team made a good decision by signing Adrian Sutil on the dotted line as one of their two drivers to contest the 2013 season. Backed by Mercedes power, Sutil clocked a 1:21.627 for the third best lap of the day; he also put 109 laps on the 2013 car. It was the second day this week in the VJM06 for Sutil which means his teammate Paul di Resta returns to the cockpit for the final day.

“A busy day of race preparation, which all went to plan,” said Sutil. “There was a lot of pit stop practice throughout the day and it’s good that we managed to do a race distance without any disruptions. It was less windy today, which made things easier, and the higher temperatures helped give us ideal testing conditions for understanding the tyres and the degradation.”

The final Formula One winter testing concludes tomorrow.

Unofficial times

Pos. Driver Car Time Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.558 117
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.266 94
3 Adrian Sutil Sahara Force India 1:21.627 109
4 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:22.305 34
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.468 31
6 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:22.553 99
7 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:22.658 59
8 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:22.694 101
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:23.223 114
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:23.380 46
11 Davide Valsecchi Lotus 1:23.448 16
12 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:24.028 74
13 Giedo Van Der Garde Caterham 1:24.235 126
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About this article
Series F1
Article type Testing report
Tags barcelona, circuit de catalunya, ferrari, force india, hamilton, massa, mercedes, spain, sutil

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