Lewis Hamilton finally got a chance to stretch the legs of his Mercedes, setting not only the fastest time of the second test, but also the quickest time of anyone in the last two weeks.
There was no rain at Barcelona on day three and Hamilton’s time of 1:20.557 was set on the soft compound Pirelli. The time is a positive one for Hamilton and the team as it was set on a five lap run and wasn’t done as a ‘show’ time to impress, indicating the upgrades on the F1W04 have worked.
Felipe Massa was second for Ferrari, 0.708s behind Hamilton. The Brazilian suffered a scare towards the end of the session when his left-front tyre detached from his car and came to a halt in the run-off area between turns nine and ten. He did not return to the track to close off the day.
Adrian Sutil was third in an impressive showing for Force India. The German completed a race simulation, and beat out Pastor Maldonado in the Williams. Maldonado did have to share the car with Valtteri Botas, who finished just behind his more experienced team-mate.
Sauber was sixth with Esteban Gutierrez once again behind the wheel. The Mexican set a time of 1:22.553 and completed 99 laps, just pipping the Red Bull of Mark Webber. Webber had a spate of issues throughout the day and set his fastest time in the last five minutes of the session.
Sergio Perez was eighth for McLaren, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne for Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. Grosjean shared the car with test-driver Davide Valsecchi, who had to be drafted in to replace Kim Raikkonen who called in sick before the day began. Valsecchi would finish just behind Grosjean, completing only 16 laps.
Jules Bianchi got his first taste of the Marussia and once again gave his team an advantage over rivals Caterham, beating out Giedo van der Garde for eleventh place. Despite setting the slowest time of the day, Van der Garde managed to complete the most laps with 126 and was only two tenths behind Bianchi.
The final test wraps up tomorrow.
(Images copyright Sutton & Getty Images)