Hamilton hones Mercedes with fastest time at F1 testing
MONTMELO, Spain (AP) Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes at the top of the timesheet for a second straight day of Formula One preseason testing on Saturday.
The defending F1 champion steered his way late in the day to the session-best lap, a day after teammate Nico Rosberg was quickest on the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit.
Hamilton, however, downplayed his show of speed.
”It wasn’t a particularly spectacular day,” he said. ”But I’m still glad we got some running done, and I feel good in the car … I just can’t wait to get racing now, the fun stuff!”
While Mercedes fine-tuned its car with only one more day of testing to go, McLaren’s reliability problems returned as it adjusts to its move to Honda engines. An oil leak ended reserve driver Kevin Magnussen’s day 1 1/2 hours early after he managed a session-low 39 laps.
Favorable conditions provided for a second straight day of productive driving for most teams, with seven of the nine drivers breaking the 100-lap mark.
Felipe Massa gave Williams another reason to feel confident heading into the season, with the day’s second-fastest time. Massa was fastest on Thursday before teammate Valtteri Bottas also clocked the second-best time behind Rosberg on Friday.
Ferrari also continued its promising winter with Kimi Raikkonen proving the third quickest, just ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in his Toro Rosso.
Force India accomplished its goal of getting in as many laps as possible for its new car in just its second day on the track. Nico Hulkenberg was the busiest driver of the field with 158 laps.
Magnussen drove for McLaren while Fernando Alonso recovers from his crash last weekend. Jenson Button finally enjoyed a long shift behind the wheel on Friday until he stalled because of an electrical problem late in the day.
”The power unit systems are all functioning well,” Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s motorsport chief, said. ”We just need more practice on race simulation, and to improve our reliability.”
McLaren will have one more chance to do so on Sunday.
The season starts in two weeks at the Australian Grand Prix.