F1 2014: Hamilton sets fastest lap of Bahrain test

Formula One testing in Bahrain [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

Formula One testing in Bahrain [Picture: Sean Ramsell] - Credit: Archant

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton topped the pre-season timesheets for Mercedes in Bahrain on the third day of testing.

The 29-year-old F1 star from Hertfordshire was quickest around the Bahrain International Circuit as the Mercedes AMG Petronas team continues its testing programme today (Friday).

Back in the driver’s seat after Nico Rosberg’s turn behind the wheel of the F1 W05 on Thursday, Hamilton’s time of 1m 34.263s topped the timesheets for the day and proved to be the fastest lap of the test so far.

McLaren star Jenson Button was second fastest today in another Mercedes-powered car with a lap of 1m 34.976s.

Today’s Mercedes programme consisted of short runs on the softer tyre this morning, followed by an attempted race distance. A failure on the car interrupted the race simulation late afternoon.

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However, Hamilton still completed another 22 laps once the issue was fixed.

The day proved to be a good learning curve for performance and reliability, giving a good base for the final test day tomorrow (Saturday).

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Hamilton said: “It was nice to be able to put together a good lap today because generally speaking there seems to be less grip available than last year.

“I’m looking forward to completing a race simulation next week, as we didn’t quite get to finish it today.

“We’re trying to find any issues we can now to prevent them happening during a race situation, so from that perspective it’s a positive that we were able to find and fix something again today.”

Hamilton added: “The car seems to be responding well to my style of driving and the power unit is looking promising, with all of the Mercedes-powered team completing good mileage.

“We won’t know where we are for definite until we get to Melbourne [scene of the 2014 Australian Grand Prix] so we’re just continuing to focus on our run programmes, keep positive and look forward.

“The team has done a great job to get where we are today so we just need to keep that going.”

Mercedes technical supremo Paddy Lowe said: “Today was a good day overall. We ran a programme in the morning looking at some of the softer tyres, which was very useful to learn a bit more about the car, especially looking at a single lap.

“We attempted a race distance but suffered a failure that halted this for a while.

“We did manage to get back out and continued with that until the end of the day to post a good amount of laps.

“Not a trouble free day, but we learnt a lot about the car from a performance and reliability point of view, so we can come back tomorrow in even better shape.

Rosberg will be in the car for the final day of the second pre-season test.

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