Lewis Hamilton finally revealed a bit of pace in the McLaren by setting the fastest time of the four-day test session at Jerez.

Having previously focused on long runs for much of the test session, Hamilton used a lower-fuel run to rocket up the rankings in the final half-hour of the day’s running with a 1:19.593, some 0.5s quicker than his nearest rivals.

Until Lewis’ late run, it looked like Force India would cap off its promising debut test of its VJM03, with Lewis’ good mate Adrian Sutil heading the field at that point.

Earlier on, both Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher had taken turns heading the timesheets for Williams and Mercedes GP, respectively.

The former Ferrari team-mates were also responsible for separate red flag incidents; Barrichello slid into the gravel trap and Schumacher deliberately running out of fuel to test the fuel consumption of his Mercedes GP W01.

Robert Kubica’s Renault split the pair in fourth place, and Sebastian Vettel landed up as the sixth-quickest driver.

Having posted quicker times in the preceding three days, it appeared that both Sauber and Toro Rosso concentrated on heavy-fuel runs on the final day at Jerez, with Pedro de la Rosa eighth-quickest and Jaime Alguersuari slowest of all.

Virgin Racing finally had a day to write home about, with Lucas di Grassi getting some 63 laps under the VR-01’s belt and managing to scramble off the bottom of the timesheets in ninth place.

The pre-season testing restarts next Wednesday with another four-day stint at Jerez.

Saturday’s testing times:

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1:19.583 (113 laps)
2. Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 1:20.180 (83)
3. Rubens Barrichello Williams Cosworth 1:20.341 (90)
4. Robert Kubica Renault 1:20.358 (85)
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:20.613 (83)
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1:21.203 (89)
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.485 (160)
8. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber Ferrari 1:22.134 (105)
9. Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing Cosworth 1:22.912 (63)
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:24.072 (98)

[Image via ITV-F1]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.