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Hamilton paces wet final day

22 February 2013

Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time on a wet final day of running at Catalunya as the second pre-season F1 test drew to a close.

Rain showers throughout the day played havoc with proceedings and led to no fewer than eight red flags as teams dealt with wet conditions for the first time this year.

Hamilton's quickest time came between showers in the morning session, although a time of 1min 23.282secs was well over a second slower than the fastest time of the week.

It did however mark the first time that Hamilton had topped the times as a Mercedes driver, despite the fact that the 2008 title winner was one of the drivers to force a stoppage when he ground to a halt on the circuit in the final half hour.

Hamilton's former team-mate at McLaren was second fastest, with Jenson Button lapping four-tenths of a second slower, while Jean-Eric Vergne was third fastest for Toro Rosso and Jules Bianchi fourth for Force India as the Frenchman looks to try and see off the challenge of Adrian Sutil to earn a race seat for 2013.

Esteban Gutierrez, another driver to cause a red flag when he went off and got beached in the gravel at turn four, was the busiest driver on track for Sauber as he completed 96 laps despite the conditions, while Giedo van der Garde enjoyed a solid day for Caterham to end up sixth – a tenth up on Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

“Despite today's weather it's been another relatively productive day,” the Dutchman, another driver to cause a stoppage, said. “It's certainly been one of the coldest days I've had on track, but even with the cold track temps and the rain that stopped and started we were able to get through quite a bit of work.

“The cold weather meant it might not have been much fun for the fans in the stands, but it was useful to get some laps done on the intermediate tyres as it was my first time in an F1 car in the wet, and to experience the car in the wet / dry conditions we had today. We also tried a couple more ideas to help improve the rear stability but, again, as the tyres weren't really coming up to temperature we weren't able to push too hard today.

“Even with the weather today, it's been a fairly good test for us. We're steadily working through the plan, making sure we're covering everything we need to and now we have a lot of information to help us prepare for the final test back here in Barcelona next week.”

Behind Massa, Mark Webber, Max Chilton and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten, with Williams duo Valterri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado focusing on pit stops as they again shared the new FW35.

As a result, neither driver set a timed lap.

To see times from day four, Click Here.


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