- Oct 27, 2014
Despite doing fewer laps than almost anyone else, Lewis Hamilton reaffirmed Mercedes’ form by going fastest on Saturday ahead of Felipe Massa, whose Williams was quickest in the morning session.
Mercedes focused their efforts on “experimental” set-up work for much of the day before sending Hamilton out just before three o’clock where he set his fastest time on soft tyres; Massa, in comparison, was on the super-softs as he finished his pre-season testing programme, as was Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari with the 3rd fastest time. Even when they haven’t been on top, Mercedes have consistently impressed relative to their rivals in terms of set-up and tyre choice, and said rivals suspect the Brackley-based team will still have a noticeable advantage when they get to Australia.
The only team with fewer laps done than Mercedes today was McLaren. That might sound rather predictable at this point given the team’s reliability struggles with their new Honda-powered MP4-30, but Jenson Button’s century of laps yesterday made people cautiously wonder if the team had turned a corner with the car. And when compared to their lap counts in the previous tests, Kevin Magnussen’s 39 laps today wasn’t a terrible haul. But an oil leak prevented any meaningful afternoon running, and McLaren now have just tomorrow left to make progress before the season starts. The team are remaining pragmatic with their difficulties, with Button insisting there’ll be more improvements before Australia and Racing Director Eric Boullier saying in a media briefing today: “We won’t be as ready as we’d like but we will do our best.”
Below even Magnussen was Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull in 9th, but the Australian’s programme wasn’t concerned with lower fuel or softer-tyre runs. Nico Hulkenberg gave the just-debuted Force India VJM08 another much-needed boost with 158 laps, not just the largest tally of anyone today, but in all testing so far. Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Toro Rosso and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber both stopped on track late in the afternoon, while Romain Grosjean’s Lotus ended up 5th quickest.
Second Barcelona Test Day Three Results
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.022 76 laps
2. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:23.262 102 laps
3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:23.276 136 laps
4. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.191 132 laps
5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1:24.200 116 laps
6. Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.477 123 laps
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:24.939 158 laps
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Honda 1:25.225 39 laps
9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:25.472 128 laps
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