• First Bahrain Test - Day Three

Hamilton ups the pace in Bahrain

ESPN Staff
February 21, 2014 « Another problem ends Red Bull's day early | Ricciardo sure Red Bull a quick car underneath issues »
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Lewis Hamilton gave a glimpse of Mercedes' potential on the third day of testing in Bahrain by setting a new fastest lap for the week, more than 0.6s quicker than any of his rivals.

It was another show of strength from Mercedes while reigning champions Red Bull had to cut another day short due to an all-new mechanical problem with the RB10. Daniel Ricciardo completed just 28 laps before the team decided not to reopen the garage doors and allow the mechanics and engineers to work on a fix for Saturday's final day. Time is now running short for the world champions, and despite a 59-lap run for Sebastian Vettel on Thursday, problems on the new car are still being discovered on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Mercedes has moved on from reliability testing to set-up work, with Hamilton setting his quick time in the morning before a fairly long break in the afternoon. I was not until late in the day that another driver got within a second of his time, when Jenson Button set a similar lap time to McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen's from Thursday. However, McLaren appeared to be chasing mileage above all else, with 103 laps by the end of the day, 75 of which came in the afternoon.

Priorities are clearly starting to shift from pure reliability testing though, with Williams leading the lap count after spending the majority of the day completing pit stop practice. Valtteri Bottas managed 55 laps by 13:00 but did not set a single lap time as he came back into the pits on each tour to give the Williams crew a full workout on the hottest day of the test so far. Felipe Massa took over at Williams in the afternoon and continued the pit stop practice, before going third fastest with a timed lap by the end of the day.

Kimi Raikkonen had a stop-start return to the cockpit of the Ferrari F14 T. A telemetry issue in the morning meant he was garage-bound after just 12 laps, but Ferrari were able to get him back on track to bring his total up to 44 laps by the chequered flag.

Lotus had another tricky day trying to debug its new E22, with Pastor Maldonado twice stopping on track and causing red flags. By the end of the day only Max Chilton, whose Marussia had gone up in smoke after just four laps, had completed fewer laps.

Force India got off to a slow start and did not emerge for the first hour and 50 minutes due to a battery issue overnight. When Sergio Perez did get on track he managed to rack up 57 laps and register the fifth fastest time behind Esteban Gutierrez, who completed a solid 96 laps in the Sauber. Daniil Kyvat finally got a decent run under his belt with 57 laps at the wheel of the Toro Rosso.

Lap times on day three

 
1.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes     1:34.263  67  laps
2.  Jenson Button      McLaren      1:34.976  103 laps
3.  Felipe Massa       Williams     1:37.066  60  laps
4.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber       1:37.180  96  laps
5.  Sergio Perez       Force India  1:37.367  57  laps
6.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari      1:37.467  44  laps
7.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso   1:38.974  57  laps
8.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus        1:39.642  26  laps
9.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull     1:40.781  28  laps
10. Marcus Ericsson    Caterham     1:42.130  98  laps
11. Max Chilton        Marussia     1:46.672  4   laps
12. Valtteri Bottas    Williams     no time   55  laps

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