Hamilton fastest as F1 wraps up first test of 2018

However, Stoffel Vandoorne completed 110 laps on Thursday and displayed positive indications that the auto has some pace.

A third red flag of the day briefly delayed proceedings ahead of the final half hour.

More drivers emerged after the Sauber recovery break, including Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes. "Definitely so far I've got a better understanding because of the mileage". It was here that we began to see the first of the inter runners, with Sebastian Vettel going for the gusto in the still-tricky conditions.

New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley did not take the track on day four.

Pre-season times are notoriously unreliable indicators of form because vehicle specifications are not revealed and many factors can affect performance. "So far, things have looked OK but there has been limited running for everyone so it is hard to judge and compare to the others". "A lot more grip", offered Hamilton by way of explanation.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, the only driver to post a time on Wednesday, was fifth-fastest after running 51 laps with McLaren. Other driver swaps for the "afternoon session" included Chalres Leclerc for Ericsson, and Lance Stroll for Sirotkin.

The time was quicker already than anything the Briton did in 2017 pre-season testing, when Mercedes were behind only Ferrari, and not far off the 1:19.301 that team mate Valtteri Bottas produced on day six of past year.

"And if Red Bull can catch up, then it gets really interesting".


Lewis Hamilton is desperate to compete and declared the new Mercedes an upgrade on last year's title-winning model after posting the quickest time of Formula One's first test of the season in Barcelona.

Honda, Honda, and Honda again.

Speaking of good cars, Toro Rosso's vehicle, complete with Honda engine, carried Pierre Gasly to 116 laps, the most of the day. Not many people would have bet on that at the start of the week!

Despite completing fewer miles than any of his rivals during a weather-hit opening test in Barcelona, Hamilton ominously ended on top of the time sheets with the fastest lap of the week.

Toto Wolff predicts a three-way battle between Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari in 2018. This was also the fastest lap of the week.

Red Bull again... At 35 laps, Max Verstappen's tally was the lowest of the day, and marked another hard day for Red Bull in what has already been a turbulent week for the Milton Keynes-based outfit. "There'€s no more excuses, for sure".

A sensor problem restricted development driver Nikita Mazepin to just 22 laps on the day the vehicle launched, while reserve driver Nicolas Latifi was too ill to take up his scheduled time in the auto on Thursday.


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