Lewis Hamilton has finished the second pre-season test session at the Circuit de Catalunya as the fastest driver on a rain-hit final day in Barcelona.
The Englishman’s fastest time – which was well down on Sergio Pérez’s quickest overall time posted on the second day of testing – came during a break between raine showers. The Mercedes driver was able to bolt on a set of medium-compound Pirelli tyres and post the fastest time in the morning’s running. Hamilton was able to out-pace former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button and Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne, who were the only drivers to get within one second of his lap time.
The day was interrupted by no less than eight red flag period as drivers came to grief, either through driver error or mechanical dramas. At least the conditions allowed the day’s runners to get some useful mileage on Pirelli’s intermediate and wet-weather tyres.
There were of course a few folk who let the conditions get the better of them. Esteban Gutiérrez could have cracked well over a century of laps on the day were it not for two separate spins into the kitty litter on either side of the lunch break.
Giedo van der Garde was another driver who came to grief, causing light damage to the front of his Caterham when he slid into the tyre barriers at the final corner. Despite this, the Dutchman finished the day sixth-fastest, marking one of the few times that the CT03 has clambered off the bottom of the timesheets.
Felipe Massa was another driver to enjoy a trip through the gravel, triggering the day’s first red flag interruption. It was his first outing in the Ferrari F138 after team-mate Fernando Alonso’s three days of running, and the Brazilian was frustrated to have such poor weather conditions in which to evaluate the improvements the Italian team has made to their new car.
The bottom of the timesheet was occupied by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Williams team-mates Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas, who spent much of the day concentrating on pit stop practice, as did Mark Webber’s Red Bull Racing pit crew. Neither Bottas nor Maldonado posted a lap time.
The field now de-camps for a few days before returning to the Circuit de Catalunya for the final pre-season test, which runs from February 28 to March 3.
2013 Barcelona Pre-Season Test – Day 4 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG F1W04||1:23.282||52||M|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||+ 0.351||70||M|
|3.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||+ 0.789||80||S|
|4.||Jules Bianchi||Force India Mercedes VJM06||+ 2.450||96||M|
|5.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||+ 2.957||61||M|
|6.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||+ 4.147||50||M|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||+ 4.281||80||M|
|8.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||+ 4.334||64||M|
|9.||Max Chilton||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02||+ 6.620||51||M|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||+ 11.518||41||H|
|11.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||no time||23|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||no time||13|