Lewis Hamilton fastest on penultimate day of pre-season testing

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton continued team-mate Nico Rosberg’s form from yesterday by keeping Mercedes at the top of the time-sheets.

Hamilton’s time of 1:23.022 was seven tenths off Rosberg’s pace from yesterday but it was still a clear sign from the world champions. He ended the day two tenths clear of Williams driver Felipe Massa who set his fastest lap-time on the super soft tyres, while Hamilton’s was on the soft. After initial runs on the medium tyre, Hamilton returned to the garage for, what the team described as, experimental set-up changes. He put a set of the soft tyres on late in the day and moved to the top of the times.

Today brought Massa’s pre-season testing to a close as Valtteri Bottas returns to the car tomorrow. The Brazilian spent the day completing chassis and aero work along with longer runs on scrubbed tyres. Kimi Raikkonen ended the day third for Ferrari and he is another driver who has wrapped up his winter running. After an early delay due to an electrical problem Raikkonen had a highly productive day, completing 136 laps. He completed a consistent race simulation in the afternoon.

Carlos Sainz got the opportunity to fine-tune the set-up of the car and completed a race simulation in the afternoon. He will make his Formula One racing debut in just two weeks time at the Australian Grand Prix. Unfortunately an electrical problem late in the day caused a red flag and brought an early end to Sainz’s running, just after he had set his best lap of the day. Romain Grosjean set the fifth fastest lap of the day for Lotus. As was the case with most other drivers, his day included aero work and a race simulation in the afternoon. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson completed 123 laps and set the sixth fastest time of the day. He caused the first of two red flags when his car came to a stop out on track in the afternoon.

Nico Hulkenberg continued Force India’s positive start to testing by completing 158 laps. The team’s 2015 car made its debut yesterday and has been showing good signs in terms of reliability with Hulkenberg being able to complete a substantial amount of laps. He will hand over the car to Sergio Perez tomorrow for the fourth and final day of pre-season testing.

Kevin Magnussen was in the car for McLaren and he managed just 39 laps before his day was curtailed by an oil leak. After the highs of yesterday, when the team completed 101 laps, it was back to the usual scene for the team as they continue to try and get to grips with their new car and engine. Rounding out the times was Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull after he spent the day focusing on long runs on the medium tyre and not chasing the ultimate lap time.

Times from the third day were as follows:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 1:23.022 – 76 laps
  2. Felipe Massa – 1:23.262 – 102 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:23.276 – 136 laps
  4. Carlos Sainz – 1:24.191 – 132 laps
  5. Romain Grosjean – 1:24.200 – 116 laps
  6. Marcus Ericsson – 1:24.477 – 123 laps
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:24.939 – 158 laps
  8. Kevin Magnussen – 1:25.225 – 39 laps
  9. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:25.742 – 128 laps

Pre-season testing concludes tomorrow.

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