• Jerez Test Report - Day Four

Hamilton tops the tables

Adam Leveridge at Jerez
February 13, 2010 « Vettel thinks 2010 cars are closely matched | »

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On a dry track Lewis Hamilton records the fastest time of the day © Sutton Images
The rain that had disrupted the teams' schedules on Friday was replaced by overcast but dry conditions for the final day of testing in Jerez, and it was Lewis Hamilton who posted the fastest time of 1:19.583.

Robert Kubica was the first to venture out onto the damp track for an installation lap in his Renault R30, with Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull RB6 and Rubens Barrichello in the Williams FW32 following.

But it was Felipe Massa who recorded the first timed lap in the Ferrari F10. On his first attempt he set a time of 1:29.534, but he gradually picked up the pace until his car came to a halt on the grass at the pit-lane entrance. The team wasn't giving anything away, but it appears they purposely allowed the car to run out of fuel in order to check the capacity of its tank.

Massa's former Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher was a little more tentative at first, recording 1:29.768 before bringing his Mercedes GP W01 back to the pits, where it stayed for rest of the morning.

As was the situation on Wednesday and on Friday, the changeable conditions left the teams with a tough judgment call to make with regard to tyres. Puddles left over from the persistent rainfall of yesterday had mostly cleared, but the teams decided to play it safe by starting their drivers on intermediate tyres while the track rubbered in.

Nico Rosberg was brimming with confidence following his second day in the Mercedes GP W01, despite being denied the luxury of a dry track during both of his stints behind the wheel. He said he felt comfortable in the car, and he was sure the Silver Arrow will be near the front of the pack when the racing gets underway in Bahrain on March 14.

Lucas di Grassi finally records some laps in the Virgin © Sutton Images

One hour into the session the red flags made their first appearance when Vettel had an off-track excursion and beached his Red Bull in one of the gravel traps at the back end of the circuit. The delay was minimal, thanks to the swift work by the on-circuit recovery team, who had the RB6 returned to its pit-garage within 15 minutes.

Times improved rapidly as lunchtime approached, the temperature rose and the fuel loads lightened, with Barrichello posting 1:22.319 after 39 laps and Massa recording 1:22.697 after 94 laps. Ten minutes before lunch, Pedro de la Rosa caused a stoppage when his Sauber C29 came to a halt. The red flags meant Barrichello reached the midpoint of the day at the head of the times, three tenths of a second faster than Massa and two seconds over Kubica in the Renault.

After receiving new parts from England on Friday afternoon to replace the VR-01's front wing, which failed after just 11 laps on Thursday, the Virgin Racing team let Lucas di Grassi loose in the car at the start of Friday afternoon. This was di Grassi's first dry run in the car and, despite spinning at as he neared the end of his third lap of the day, he appeared to have no problems, recording a 1:25.683, the team's best time of the week so far.

Schumacher finally made another appearance after spending the morning in his garage, jumping to the top of the timesheets on the first timed lap of his run. His pace continued to improve, and he widened the gap between himself and Barrichello until he peaked at 1:20.613 ten laps in to his run. Schumacher then slowed and came to a stop at the side of the track on his 24th lap, causing a third red-flag situation.

Felipe Massa recorded an impressive 160 laps during the final day of this test © Sutton Images

After a quiet morning, Adrian Sutil then popped up at the top of the timesheets by posting a 1:20.180 - a time he was evidently delighted with. However, a last-ditch low-fuel attempt from Hamilton placed him ahead of Sutil with ten minutes of the day left, and Kubica ended up as the fourth fastest man when he also pulled together a quick lap in the dying minutes.

Vettel came out for another run midway through the afternoon after spending a few hours in the pit-lane because of an unconfirmed mechanical drama, although he failed to make an impression on the drivers at the top of the times and slipped down to sixth as the session concluded.

Massa carried out a succession of heavy-fuel runs during the afternoon and clocked up more miles than anybody with 159 laps on the board.

Pos. Driver Car Best Times Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton   McLaren MP4-25 1:19.583 113
2. Adrian Sutil Force India VJM03  1:20.180 82
3. Rubens Barrichello Williams FW32 1:20.341 90
4. Robert Kubica Renault R30  1:24.358 85
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W01 1:20.613 83
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB6 1:21.203 89
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari F10 1:21.485 160
8. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber C29 1:22.134 105
9. Lucas di Grassi   Virgin VR-01 1:22.912 63
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso STR5 1:24.072 98