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Hamilton impresses to go quickest on day three
Saturday 02nd March 2013, 16:15 by TF1T Staff
© Octane Photographic
Lewis Hamilton lit up the timing screens on Saturday to post the fastest lap seen during the two four-day tests at Barcelona so far.
The Mercedes driver posted a 1:20.558 - over 1.1 seconds quicker than his disallowed pole position lap at the same circuit last year - on the soft tyre to top the timing charts.
Felipe Massa was his nearest rival. The Brazilian driver's best was just over seven tenths slower, but it wasn't the best of days for Ferrari who were left scratching their heads at the end of the session when a front-left wheel came loose for no apparent reason.
Force India ran returnee Adrian Sutil who posted the third best lap ahead of Williams's Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas.
Kimi Raikkonen was supposed to test on Saturday, but due to illness, was replaced by reserve Davide Valsecchi - 11th quickest - and then Romain Grosjean - 10th fastest - who hopped on a private plane from France to get behind the wheel in the afternoon.
Meanwhile Jules Bianchi made his Marussia debut and finished ahead of Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham comfortably.
Times from the Barcelona pre-season test (Saturday):
# Driver Team Time Gap Laps 01. L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.558 117 02. F. Massa Ferrari 1:21.266 +0.708 94 03. A. Sutil Force India 1:21.627 +1.069 109 04 P. Maldonado Williams 1:22.305 +1.747 34 05. V. Bottas Williams 1:22.468 +1.910 31 06. E. Gutierrez Sauber 1:22.553 +1.995 99 07. M. Webber Red Bull 1:22.658 +2.100 59 08. S. Perez McLaren 1:22.694 +2.136 101 09. J. Vergne Toro Rosso 1:23.223 +2.665 114 10. R. Grosjean Lotus 1:23.380 +2.822 46 11. D. Valsecchi Lotus 1:23.448 +2.890 16 12. J. Bianchi Marussia 1:24.028 +3.470 74 13. G. van der Garde Caterham 1:24.520 +3.677 126