Formula One: Hamilton fastest on penultimate day of testing

World champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest (above) on the third day of the final Formula One pre-season test in Barcelona as Mercedes proved they remain well ahead of the chasing pack on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP
World champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest (above) on the third day of the final Formula One pre-season test in Barcelona as Mercedes proved they remain well ahead of the chasing pack on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) - World champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the third day of the final Formula One pre-season test in Barcelona as Mercedes proved they remain well ahead of the chasing pack on Saturday.

Hamilton eased to the fastest lap of the day once he changed onto soft tyres, although his time of 1min 23.022sec was nearly three tenths off the quickest time set by teammate Nico Rosberg on Friday.

Williams were once again the closest challengers to Mercedes as Felipe Massa produced his best time of the testing season, but was still over two tenths down on Hamilton despite being on the faster supersoft tyres.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was just over a hundredth of a second behind Massa on his best lap on the supersofts.

On a day in which seven drivers managed over 100 laps, McLaren's reliability problems were again highlighted as an oil leak restricted test driver Kevin Magnussen to just 39 laps.

Results from day three of the final pre-season test in Barcelona:

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:23.022 (76 laps)

2. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) 1:23.262 (102 laps)

3. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1:23.276 (136 laps)

4. Carlos Sainz Junior (ESP/Toro Rosso) !:24.191 (132 laps)

5. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus) 1:27.200 (116 laps)

6. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber) 1:24.477 (123 laps)

7. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India) 1:24.939 (156 laps)

8. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/McLaren) 1:25.225 (39 laps)

9. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) 1:25.742 (126 laps)