Hamilton sets quickest time of Barcelona test

2013 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap time of 2013 at the Circuit de Catalunya on his last day of testing.

The Mercedes driver set a rapid pace in the morning, producing a 1’20.558 to go fastest on soft tyres. A later tun on the same rubber produced a lap just a few hundredths of a second quicker.

After two days of rain the weather took a turn for the better with sunshine and track temperatures reaching 30C by midday.

Most teams completed over 30 laps before lunch, but Lotus were among the exceptions as an unwell Kimi Raikkonen was unable to drive the car.

That meant reserve driver Davide Valsecchi had to take over at short notice and the team faced a delay getting him out at the start of the test. While Romain Grosjean headed back to the track for the afternoon session a car problem halted Valsecchi after just 16 laps.

Giedo van der Garde caused the morning’s other red flag when a sensor failure on his Caterham brought him to a halt.

No one bettered Hamilton’s time during the afternoon session when most of the teams focuses on doing long runs.

Felipe Massa had a nasty surprise when a wheel came off his car on the run to turn ten. He brought the Ferrari to a stop in the run-off area and the session was red-flagged while he was recovered.

Massa had previously set the second-fastest time of the day, over seven tenths of a second slower than Hamilton managed.

Jules Bianchi had his first day in the Marussia having been announced as the team’s second race driver yesterday evening. His best time of 1’24.028 was 1.1s faster than the best time achieved by Max Chilton in the car over the previous six days.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifferenceTyres
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes W041’20.558117Soft
2Felipe MassaFerrari F1381’21.266940.708Super Soft
3Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes VJM061’21.6271091.069Soft
4Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault FW351’22.305341.747Soft
5Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault FW351’22.468311.910Soft
6Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari C321’22.553991.995Soft
7Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault RB91’22.658592.100Soft
8Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-281’22.6941012.136Soft
9Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari STR81’23.2231142.665Soft
10Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault E211’23.380462.822Medium
11Davide ValsecchiLotus-Renault E211’23.448162.890Soft
12Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth MR021’24.028743.470Soft
13Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault CT031’24.2351263.677Soft

Image © F1 Fanatic | f1fanatic.co.uk

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Keith Collantine
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60 comments on “Hamilton sets quickest time of Barcelona test”

  1. We <3 Hamilton! :-) Getting excited for the new season now.

    1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      2nd March 2013, 17:25

      Don’t get excited. The best he will be able to is be in the top 10, or maybe an odd podium or win.

      1. @shreyasf1fan There’s quite a difference from being able to be in the top 10 to the ‘odd win’.

        Let’s be honest, if Hamilton can get a win or to for Mercedes that’s quite a big deal – and if you are a Hamilton supporter (or even just not a Hamilton hater) then the thought of Hamilton taking a Mercedes into a fight for podiums and/or wins amongst the big teams is a reasonably exciting prospect.

      2. Do you have a ball that predicts future?

      3. @SM, I read your other comment on this article. Sounds like you’re either worried or hoping big time that “it ain’t true” – or maybe both.

    2. Hamilton can’t bluff anymore. That Mercedes is capable of winning races. I’m looking forward to see it in action in two weeks time.

  2. 2 weeks to go! Can’t wait! :)

  3. Seems the Mercedes has some good raw pace. I don’t think it’s the fastest car, I’d say 4th of 5th at best, but better than where they ended last year. I love how Gary Anderson has now said he thinks it’s possible for Hamilton to win the Championship ! I think that’s more than a long shot ! He slated the car on its launch and so far hasn’t had a good word to say about it, then a quick time from Hamilton and it’s a championship winner.. A 1m20.5 seems really quick but I just feel that McLaren, Red bull and Ferrari can get in the 19’s, leaving Mercedes a good half second off the pace.

    1. I also found the claim a bit far-fetched and hilarious given the harsh criticism you refer to, and I quote:
      “Unlike the McLaren, which looked a step forward in every area, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m seeing anything too exciting about the Mercedes.”
      Admittedly this is from the launch of the W04, but it is still strange for him to switch his opinion of the car around so drastically based on a couple of runs which may or may not be quick.

  4. vuelve kowalsky
    2nd March 2013, 16:10

    hamilton on p1 at melburne? who’ll bet against that now.

          1. (x+2/x)^2 = 4.24

    1. Not only testing times mean nothing, but Melbourne’s track characteristics and weather are completely different from those found in Barcelona.

      1. vuelve kowalsky
        2nd March 2013, 17:23

        p1 on q3?

  5. Felipe Massa had a nasty surprise when a wheel came off his car on the run to turn ten.

    I think they will have to focus on tyre degradation tomorrow ;)

    1. Watching the footage it looked like something exploded forcing the wheel off. Not heard what it was yet, but it looked pretty cool ! In 3d did the wheel bounce out the screen ?

      1. I’m glad no one got hit with the nut as it bounced back onto the track, imagine another Massa type hit on the head :-(

      2. “Fifteen injured when wheel bounces out of 3D screen”

  6. An interesting day of testing. I was pleasantly surprised at the Mercedes’ rapid lap time – however i suspect the mclarens and red bulls should have at least low 1:20 in them.

  7. Not to say, Lewis did a 1’20.8 on mediums, skysport italia quoted Hembery saying “softs are 0.6 quicker”

  8. The Pole Postition he lost last year was a 1.21.7, just to put this into perspective for people. Bear in mind though that this years tyres are softer in compound and I don’t know if his time in 2012 qually was on medium or soft. But I think it’s evident that the car does have some base line pace to work with over the season. Fingers crossed!

    1. Well, there is a lot more rubber on the track now than there was last year during Q3, enough to account for the difference in lap time (remember Ricciardo in Young Drivers Test in Abu Dhabi 2010?)

      1. @guilherme It had rained the previous two days. The track certainly wasn’t in ‘prime’ conditions. It was warm, but so was qually in 2012. It’s definitely a note worthy lap.

      2. @guilherme The track was super green, the rubber washed away due to rain…not sure how you missed the weather report for the past days.

    2. @nick-uk it was on the softs. We also have to bear in mind though that the fastest time in qualifying last year was not the pole position time (Hamilton went about 5 tenths faster than Maldonado) so a 1:20.558 doesn’t look as impressive with the context.

      Mercedes do look fast though, but I still think Red Bull are quickest and may only show their hand in Melbourne.

      1. @vettel1
        Hamilton’s pole last year was a 1:21:7 using DRS at every place around the track. So to go 1.2 seconds quicker without the aid of DRS is quite impressive to me. But i do expect the Red Bulls and Mclaren to be able to match or beat that time too.

        1. 1.The Tires for this year cancelled the DRS usage on track every where. The tires gives atleast 0.5 sec time more than 2012 tires. So last year if you do 1:21 you can do 1:20 or even 1:19 depends on conditions.
          2. The cars are Developed through out the season. So you can gain atleast second on the same car.

        2. @andrewf1 – very true, but the DRS effect was greatest on the two straights, where Red Bull at least were using it. Also, as @harsha had said the tyres are now +-5 tenths faster per lap, which would at least offset the loss of DRS effect. Not to mention the engines will be running a bit better with the colder temperatures.

          So 1.2s begins to look not as impressive once everything is taken into account. A good time nonetheless though and it does bode well for Mercedes this season, although I still think Red Bull are just hiding their performance.

      2. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
        2nd March 2013, 18:03

        Yes, it will be interesting… Red bull quick, Hamilton quick…. Who will win?

      3. Yeah, I looked at Hamiltons fastest time in the session for my original comment.

        1. @nick-uk – ah, I’ve noticed that now – my mistake!

  9. Another heartening day for Mercedes. I feel every day Hamilton has spent in the car except the first one, there has been something positive to report. Today his time was not only very quick, he also had at least a little bit of fuel left in the car (he followed his quick laps with five more), and he didn’t use the supersoft compound, either.

    I don’t want to get my hopes up too much yet, as Schumacher also set the fastest time in testing in 2011, and then the season brought Mercedes only set-up problems and disappointment, but still, a very positive day again.

  10. Merc looking good. Hamilton also did a 1:20.8 on the mediums, & has been looking very consistent on the long runs… definitely more consistent than anybody else this test. I wouldn’t talk up their title chances just yet, but they’re looking at least as quick as the best of the rest.

  11. Looks like Merc is on right track. Redbull and Mclaren guys watch out.

  12. dodge5847 (@)
    2nd March 2013, 16:42

    So Jules Bianchi is already 1.1 secs faster than Max Chilton, I know it is only testing, but next year, with a Ferrari engine and more money, I think Marussia will be picking up points.

    1. @dodge5847 I wouldn’t be surprised if Bianchi get another seat if he manages this kind of difference through the year … Which would left marussia with whoever has the money to drive for them

    2. I agree. Seeing that stat certainly raised an eyebrow, more so than Hamilton’s pace.

    3. dodge5847 (@)
      2nd March 2013, 19:23

      @jeanrien its sad, but you are most likely dead right, I can see most teams being interested in him if he is clean, fast and has backing. One to watch for the future.

    4. It’s flattered: everybody got much faster. When Chilton did his fastest lap, he was faster than Bianchi in a Force India.

      But it’s important to have that aura in F1: Kimi had it. Even when Heidfeld beat him, people were more impressed with Kimi.

      I have no doubt Bianchi is fast and maybe even special, but he Has been very erratic at points, so I’ll follow him closely.

  13. Mercedes is really putting in SOME mileage. Won’t be surprised if they clock the most mileage than others considering that they had a dismal 2 days at Jerez.

    I am quite impressed watching Bianchi as well. Interesting prospect!

  14. The Brazilian, who like Hamilton was in his car for the final time before the first race in two weeks in Melbourne, used the theoretically quicker super-soft tyres to set 1:22.266 effort, the same compound also used by third-placed Adrian Sutil and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado.

    – from Sky

    Well that’s interesting, keeping fingers crossed for Mercedes!

  15. Umm. On the results/timing grid at the top of this article, shouldn’t it be Davide Valsecchi as the driver of the Lotus in position 11?

  16. Something to consider regarding Hamilton’s fastest lap is that they were doing a series of short runs on the soft tyre, Changing to a new set of soft’s at each stop.
    Everyone else was focused on longer runs collecting tyre data so while some did run the soft’s, They did more laps on each set while running more fuel.

    1. Hamilton did a 20.8 on mediums.

      But yeah, no point getting excited about these times until Melbourne, and even then, they’ll have to maintain development over the course of the season

  17. Tomorrow’s times will be influenced by how much rubber is laid down today. Provided it does not rain overnight the track should be in excellent condition for the final day of testing. I suspect Vettel and Button will brake the 120.4 barrier or faster but if they can’t top Hamilton’s time by at least .3 that could be a telling sign that McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes could be extremely close come Australia. If Lotus and Kimi is in the mix all the better.

  18. I think today Proved that even for shorter runs the Top 4 teams Carrying more fuel than they needed to be even for a Single flyer.
    If Lewis can do a 1:20.5 on Softs then Ferrari and Lotus who was equal to merc can match that. And the Champions cannot be counted off. they may go even quicker. I don’t know where to keep Mclaren they are in between RBR and Ferrari in my view.
    So Even though it was eye catching i still think the Other teams was Sandbagging as we call. But it was solid Lewis lap.

  19. lol at that dude saying merc will be 1 – 2 secs off the pace come Melbourne , dream on pal .Merc were 0.9 tenths off in Brazil in qually and im pretty sure Merc are not slower than that .And I no its testing but even the other day Hamilton done a mega lap on medim’s at the start of a 12 lap run so im very confident. Also Merc hve looked very good so far you can not deny it a lot of people feel they will be close. I feel they could be really close for the fly aways , im just not confident in merc keeping up with devolopement through the season , but who know’s they certainly cant don worse than last year can they?. 5 podiums from Ham ill be ecstatic the guys born to , my hope is that the top 3 Alo , Vet , Ham going at it , we can only dream.

    1. Edit : born to drive

  20. If I were Caterham, I would be highly concerned about this Bianchi boy. Right on it from the word go it seems! Valsecchi did a pretty respectable job given the circumstances too until his car broke. I don’t want to read too much into it, but perhaps Mercedes have not got that bad a package, even if it’s 3/4 tenths away from McLaren, who a lot of people believe have the quickest car, I think Lewis and Nico will still be right in the mix of things. We’ve seen in the past from both of them where they have placed their cars in places it really shouldn’t have been. Mercedes could very well be the picking up more podiums this season than in 2012. Also Sutil has done a pretty decent job since returning, putting his off-track issues behind him pretty well.

  21. So many comments dismissing Hamilton’s time. Almost as if some people do not want to believe Merc has good speed.

    1. @tango11 – no, we don’t want to get your hopes up!

  22. Hmmm, on the W04, lets just say the bits they hooked on the car and their 60% wind-tunnel upgrade did what they were expected to do.

    And to those belittling the time Mr. Hamilton put up. Who told you he was desperate to do a fast time? Why don’t you see the desperation in the Ferrari garage? Massa using the Ssoft is an indication of that and then the wheel exploded in their attempt to patch things up. The RB is 2secs slower on the same tyres. Now don’t tell me Webber was having an extra load of fuel that could explain that disparity. People should start getting serious here!

  23. McLaren is not known for sandbagging (nor is Ferrari). I think Button’s concerns are legitimate. There are too many pointers to Merc having found something this season. It’s gona be between RB and Merc, at least at the start of the season. I see no facts to the contrary.

  24. I was looking at the 2012 Barcelona Quali results…If Hamilton got a 1.21.707 on the soft tyre (with a very low fuel load) and Pirelli say they expect the new tyres this year to be 0.5 seconds faster – does that not mean that Hamilton’s time today(set on a 5 lap fuel load at least) does have some bearing….? Correct me if i’m wrong, maybe i’m over analysing or it’s just plain wishful thinking!

  25. Sure, testing times don’t mean much, but they do help get people confident in their cars!

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