Hamilton tops penultimate day for Mercedes, as McLaren encounters new problems

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Lewis Hamilton was fastest for Mercedes on the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, as McLaren encountered further problems.

Hamilton posted a 1:23.022 on the soft tyre to jump to the top of the timesheets in the afternoon session.

The two-time champion completed 76 laps and ended the day two tenths clear of Felipe Massa at the top of the leaderboard.

Felipe Massa clocked a 1:23.262 –  Williams’ best lap of the entire Barcelona test – on a set of the super-soft tyres to end the morning session fastest.

But the Brazilian slipped to second behind Hamilton by the end of the day as Williams concentrated on long-runs in the afternoon.

Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari, after setting his best time in the morning session on a late soft tyre run.

The Finn racked up 85 laps in the afternoon at the wheel of the SF15-T as the Scuderia completed a race simulation, to end the day with 136 laps on the board.

Carlos Sainz Jr. jumped up the timesheets to fourth late in the day in the Toro Rosso, before he stopped at Turn 3, prompting a premature end to the session.

Romain Grosjean completed 116 laps in the Lotus E23 on route to fifth, while Marcus Ericsson, who also stopped on track in the afternoon, was sixth for Sauber.

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The Swede was another driver who set his best time on the super-soft tyre ahead of the lunchtime break, before concentrating on longer runs in the afternoon.

Nico Hulkenberg ended the penultimate day in seventh, as he racked up 157 laps at the wheel of the new Force India – the most of any driver on Saturday.

Kevin Magnussen managed just 39 laps for McLaren before the team encountered an oil leak, cutting short its testing programme.

Daniel Ricciardo propped up the timesheets for Red Bull, with 128 laps on the board.

This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Images courtesy of Octane Photographic

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