Day three of finalpre-season testing as it happened

Text commentary of day three of the final pre-season test in Barcelona, where Lewis Hamilton is fastest.

2 March 2013 Last updated at 17:02 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 1630: 

    Thanks for your company and contributions as always. I'll be back tomorrow morning at 0750 GMT for the final day of pre-season testing. Hopefully Kimi Raikkonen will be feeling better. Until then, it's good afternoon from me.

  2. 1627: 

    It's also worth having a skim back down through this live text commentary as it's got some brilliant nuggets of insight - complete with images - from BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson.

  3. 1625: 

    Well for the first time during this pre-season testing period, I feel like things are starting to take shape ahead of the season opening Australian Grand Prix. If you missed any of the action, may I suggest you read Andrew Benson's report.

  4. 1620: 

    So the big moments of the day were:

    Lotus' driver Kimi Raikkonen pulling out of today's running with a stomach bug.

    Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest time of the winter in his Mercedes.

    Jules Bianchi gets his first taste of the Marussia after signing race deal.

    Felipe Massa loses a wheel while driving down the back straight.

  5.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Max Mclean: "Suddenly looking like Hamilton might have been playing down Mercedes, quite a lot."

  6. 1612: 
    THE STANDINGS

    1) Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:20.558 117 laps

    2) Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:21.266 94 laps

    3) Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Mercedes 1:21.627 109 laps

    4) Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams-Renault 1:22.305 34 laps

    5) Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams-Renault 1:22.468 31 laps

    6) Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.553 99 laps

    7) Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:22.658 58 laps

    8) Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.694 101 laps

    9) Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.223 114 laps

    10) Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus-Renault 1:23.380 45 laps

    11) Davide Valsecchi (Ita) Lotus-Renault 1:23.448 16 laps

    12) Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia-Cosworth 1:24.028 73 laps

    13) Giedo van der Garde (Ned) Caterham-Renault 1:24.520 126 laps

  7. 1605: 

    Well that was quite something from Lewis Hamilton earlier today, wasn't it? Have Mercedes pulled it out of the bag and delivered a car with which the 2008 world champion can challenge for the championship?

  8. 1600: 
    CHEQUERED FLAG

    The chequered flag falls on the third day of final pre-season testing at Barcelona, with Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets.

  9. 1558: 

    Lewis Hamilton is out there, too, as is Valtteri Bottas and Giedo van der Garde. However, Force India and Adrian Sutil have called it a day.

  10. 1557: 

    Mark Webber is out and about in his Red Bull as the sun starts to set in Barcelona. This will be his last chance in the car before Melbourne with Sebastian Vettel in the car for the final day tomorrow. He moves up to seventh after his first flyign lap on the soft tyres.

  11. 1554: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Got that a bit wrong as the session is back under way!

  12. 1553: 

    The Ferrari is on the back of the low-loader, with four mechanics up on the back guarding their precious machine. Not sure if the session will restart as we're close to the end of play.

  13. 1550: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Here are a few of your thoughts on Gary Anderson's belief Mercedes can win races and challenge for the championship...

    jacques_oneill: "Gary Anderson is correct they will win races and sure Lewis will get a pole or two but championship is pushing it."

    Calum Edward: "Absolutely! Lewis is best raw-pace driver, I think Rosberg will show his true talent this year and the car looks consistent."

    Matt Smith: "Hamilton may get a win or two, but I can't see Mercedes being a championship winning team just yet. Maybe 2014."

    Have your say by tweeting us using the #bbcf1 hashtag.

  14. 1544: 

    Felipe Massa has stopped out on circuit after the front left wheel detached itself from the Ferrari, leaving the Brazilian on three wheels.

  15. 1540: 
    RED FLAG

    We have a red flag with 20 minutes to go.

  16.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Do you agree with Gary Anderson that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton could win races and the championship this year? Tweet me using the #bbcf1 hashtag.

  17. 1535: 

    "I think they have the talents to win races and win the championship this year," said Gary Anderson. That's quite a claim. Mercedes struggled with reliability issues last season and though they started the year strongly in terms of pace, they were not even challenging for points towards the end of the season.

  18.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:

    "When Eddie Jordan broke the news last September that Lewis Hamilton was moving to Mercedes this year, everyone thought it was a joke, but I tell you, the joke might be on them now. Lewis joined McLaren as a boy and he never really grew out of that. But he has joined Mercedes as a man and I have to say his body language is fantastic. He really is up for it.

    "Can Mercedes make a car that is worthy of his talents? I think they've done it this year. Some of the lap times we've seen have already been pretty good, but today he has done a 1:20.5 on soft tyres on a low fuel run. That is a pretty impressive lap time. I think they have the talents to win races and win the championship this year."

  19. 1530: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson has been assessing Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton's testing pace and he's impressed with what he sees, so much so that he's making a bold prediction...

  20. 1520: 

    Just 40 minutes until the session ends and we've got Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez, Mark Webber, Jean-Eric Vergne, Valtteri Bottas, Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde all out on track trying to make the most of it.

  21.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Alex Withington: "Fast qualifying pace, consistent and reliable on long runs for Mercedes. If this carries into the season, Lewis will be right there for the title."

  22. 1513: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Pacesetter Lewis Hamilton is closing in on his century of laps. The Mercedes driver is lapping in the high 1m26s on his current run, around six seconds slower than his best time of the day.

  23. 1503: 

    After an eight-lap run, Sergio Perez pulls into his pit box for a new set of boots before accelerating away and rolling down the pit lane.

  24.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Adrian Sutil is doing a race simulation run for Force India and it seems they are some way behind the front-runners. It's hard to compare from one day to another, but it's all we've got. And looking at the runs done by Red Bull's Mark Webber and Lotus's Romain Grosjean last week, Sutil is some way off. He started in 1:31.8, 32.3, 33.3, 33.7 etc. Grosjean did 31.4, 31.6, 31.4, 32.0 etc; Webber 31.0, 30.9, 31.3, 31.6 etc. The second stint was if anything even slower in comparison. And the track is apparently quick on Saturday."

  25. 1457: 

    Giedo van der Garde and Adrian Sutil have been busy today, both clocking up just over 100 laps. But while Sutil holds the third fastest time, Van der Garde it rooted to the bottom of the timesheets in 13th.

  26. 1450: 

    Ferrari's Felipe Massa improves marginally while running a new set of soft compound tyres, clocking 1:21.457 to move to within 0.899 seconds of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

  27. 1442: 

    Lewis Hamilton completes a 10-lap run on a set of medium tyres, starting off in the 1m24s and dropping down into the high 1m26s.

  28. 1432: 

    Giedo van der Garde has clocked more laps than anyone else so far today, completing 91 laps. Adrian Sutil is next up with 88 and Lewis Hamilton with 85. At the other end of the spectrum, Romain Grosjean has managed just 11 while Valtteri Bottas has done 16.

  29. 1426: 

    Felipe Massa has pumped in a mid 1m21 to go second fastest, 0.947 seconds off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton.

  30. 1421: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Conor McLarnon: "I'd have Fernando Alonso as number one and Nico Hulkenburg. Pretty sure that will be Ferraris team either in 2014 or 2015."

    Andy Burns: "Has to be Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. Perez can learn from the master and take over as no. 1 driver when Alonso retires."

    Euan Taylor: "I would pick Dario Franchitti and Sebastien Loeb because it would be interesting to see how they would do in F1."

    Get involved in the debate - if you were a team boss, and money was no object, which two drivers would you field in your team? Tweet #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only), with your name.

  31. 1414: 

    It's a glorious day in Barcelona today, and the rain of the last two days nowhere to be seen. The air temperature is hovering around the 16C mark with the track temperature up at 31C.

  32. 1409: 

    Only three drivers - Force India's Adrian Sutil, Caterham's Giedo van der Garde and Jean-Eric Vergne - out on track at the moment. They're on long runs, though, so they won't be challenging the top times for now.

  33. 1403: 

    Romain Grosjean gets his first time on the board - a 1:32.726, which is 12 seconds off the pace in his Lotus.

  34. 1400: 

    Lewis Hamilton pits his Mercedes after a 12-lap run where his times started in the high 1m24s and drifts into the high 1m26s by the end of the run.

  35. 1355: 

    Romain Grosjean is back in the garage and suited up ahead of his return to the action for the third successive day. The Frenchman was in Paris this morning, but returned to Barcelona to replace Kimi Raikkonen who is off sick.

  36.  

    Williams driver Pastor Maldonado: "Not bad this morning, just taking some data with the new parts to analyse, car looks consistent!"

  37. 1350: 
    THE STANDINGS

    1) Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:20.558 - 67 laps

    2) Adrian Sutil - Force India - 1:21.627 - 60 laps

    3) Felipe Massa - Ferrari - 1:21.673 - 64 laps

    4) Pastor Maldonado - Williams - 1:22.305 - 34 laps

    5) Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber - 1:22.553 - 47 laps

    6) Sergio Perez - McLaren - 1:22.694 - 56 laps

    7) Mark Webber - Red Bull - 1:23.116 - 36 laps

    8) Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso - 1:23.223 - 50 laps

    9) Davide Valsecchi - Lotus - 1:23.448 - 16 laps

    10) Jules Bianchi - Marussia - 1:24.307 - 48 laps

    11) Giedo van der Garde - Caterham - 1:24.520 - 66 laps

    12) Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 1:25.396 - 5 laps

  38. 1345: 
    Red Bull

    Here's a picture of Red Bull's new front wing assembly courtesy of Gary Anderson. "To better understand the airflow in this area they are running with a large aerorake behind the left front wheel," he said.

  39. 1340: 

    Lots of action out on track at the moment with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, Force India's Adrian Sutil, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, Caterham's Giedo van der Garde and Williams' Valtteri Bottas all out and about.

  40.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:
    Williams

    "The new Williams exhaust system outlet is very similar to to concept used by Red Bull last year. It is interesting that Red Bull, Lotus and Williams all use this concept now, I wonder if that is because they all use Renault engines and that they are able to play some tricks on with engine mapping that other engine manufactures find difficult?"

  41. 1330: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Nabil Dhala: "Hamilton and Vettel. Hamilton's young will do wonders in the future. Vettel has the momentum, can't see past him this year."

    Mike Evans: "Alonso for his speed and consistency and Raikkonnen as he would not bow to Alonso's pressure...pretty sure they'd push each other!"

    Miles Hallett: "I'd choose Alonso and Perez, a good mix of experience and a hot prospect."

    Get involved in the debate - if you were a team boss, and money was no object, which two drivers would you field in your team? Tweet #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only), with your name.

  42. 1324: 

    Adrian Sutil has headed out in his Force India, as has McLaren's Sergio Perez, to join Jules Bianchi in the Marussia.

    Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, has headed back into the pits after clocking a 1:31.580 followed by a 1:27.975. That's well off the pace he set this morning.

  43. 1315: 

    Lewis Hamilton is the first man out, heading out in his Mercedes closely followed by Marussia's Jules Bianchi.

  44.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:

    "The Red Bull sidepods appear to be shorter at the rear than their launch car version and definitely shorter than last year's, although the fundamental design remains, with the duct under the exhaust outlet connected to the central part of the diffuser.

    "The red lines show what the exhaust flow will do, improving rear downforce when on-throttle at corner exit. It also helps seal the sides of the diffuser, allowing Red Bull to run a higher rear ride height.

    "The blue lines show the airflow into the duct, being pulled through by the low pressure in the centre section of the diffuser. This helps reduce the amount of airflow going under the floor, and also allows the centre section of the diffuser to get better airflow when the car is at lower ride height.

    "The green airflow is being pulled through by the low-pressure area between the rear wheels. This flow improves the efficiency of the whole car and the performance of the upper and lower rear wing as well as the diffuser."

  45. 1310: 
    Red Bull

    So while we wait for some action, BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson has been checking out the Red Bull exhausts and has kindly done another one of his sensational sketches to demonstrate airflow. Full explanation to follow.

  46. 1305: 

    There doesn't appear to be much enthusiasm to head out on track at the moment. Maybe they've eaten too much at lunch...

  47. 1302: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The green flag is flapping which means we're good to go in Barcelona...

  48. 1259: 

    Marussia new boy Giedo van der Garde has been a busy boy during the lunch break. Having had a brief photo-shoot, before being thrown into action, it was more time in front of the camera in the break.

  49.  

    Caterham's Giedo van der Garde: "Happy with this morning and good to see a lot of fans here in Barcelona, even some Dutch fans! Again busy programme this afternoon."

  50.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Lewis Hamilton set an impressive pace on Saturday morning, more than a second clear of the field, but Mercedes' rivals were non-plussed by it. Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said they weren't concerned about it and Ferrari also believe it's well within their reach. All agreed, though, that the Mercedes was a fast car. Although, as Boullier pointed out, it's about time considering all the money they have spent."

  51. 1255: 

    Hello, I hope you've eaten well. Five minutes to go until the afternoon session of the penultimate day of the final test is under way. Let's get this show on the road.

  52. 1230: 

    Right then, I'm off for a quick bite to eat. Back at 1255 GMT. Here's Andrew Benson's report to keep you busy in the meantime. See you in a bit.

  53. 1227: 

    And for those wondering where Kimi Raikkonen is today, the Finn has phoned in sick with a stomach bug. That's why Davide Valsecchi was in the Lotus this morning and why Romain Grosjean is winging his way back to Barcelona.

  54. 1221: 

    The wonders of air travel. Romain Grosjean, who was in Paris less than two hours ago, is back in Spain and bound for the Circuit de Catalunya to take part in the afternoon session. The Frenchman will get some vital dry running after his first two days were hit by rain. The team's reserve driver Davide Valsecchi has been keeping the Lotus seat warm for Grosjean.

  55. 1217: 

    Sauber report that Esteban Gutierrez, who was fifth fastest this morning, focused on aero tests and runs on new tyres on low fuel.

  56. 1211: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Pete Munn: "My vote would be for Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen that's a powerful blend of ambition and experience."

    Dean Britton: "I'd choose Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, if any driver allowed. Otherwise, modern-day Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. No-brainer."

    Paul in Stoke: "My two drivers would be Lewis Hamilton (for his raw speed) and Rubens Barrichello. He might seem like an odd choice now but that experience is crucial for getting information about car setup."

    Join the debate. If you were team boss, and money was no object, which two drivers would you field in your team? Tweet #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only) - with your name.

  57. 1206: 

    If you're about to dash off for a sandwich, spare a thought for the Williams mechanics who will work through their lunch break to prepare the car for Valtteri Bottas who steps in for Pastor Maldonado for the afternoon.

  58. 1200: 
    CHEQUERED FLAG

    The chequered flag is out and we're at lunch, folks. I reckon that eye-watering time from Lewis Hamilton may give his rivals a spot of indigestion. The Mercedes looks fast - but is it reliable?

  59. 1158: 

    Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil in the Ferrari and Force India respectively are gradually reeling in Lewis Hamilton's leading time. The Brazilian closes to within 1.1 seconds of the Mercedes driver while Sutil is just a second off the pace. Just two minutes left until lunch.

  60.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:
    Felipe Massa

    "Here's a picture of Ferrari's new front wing assembly. The main change is in the endplate detail and the actual wing's main plane has been lowered to the minimum height. This improves overall downforce from the front wing but it will make it more sensitive to the ground during braking. The endplate change is to get more consistent airflow on the inner surface especially when the steering is turned."

  61. 1148: 

    Pastor Maldonado has lifted himself off the bottom of the timesheets in his Williams - with new Red Bull-style sidepods - to go fourth fastest, 1.747 seconds adrift of P1.

  62. 1143: 

    Back to the track action and Force India's Adrian Sutil has just gone second quickest with a 1:21.790 which is 1.2 seconds off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.

  63. 1136: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Not sure I'd back some of you to be team bosses based on a few of the suggestions coming through. Remember, you can choose anyone, and money is no object. Interesting, then, that Joe Mercer would choose Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock or Jaime Alguersuari. Not sure you'd be in that job for very long, Joe I'm afraid.

  64. 1130: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Tom Stevens: "Lewis Hamilton is my first pick as he's a proper racing driver, not scared to push the limits to overtake. Paul di Resta to make it two Brits."

    Balázs from Walthamstow: "I'd get Mark Webber and treat him like a No 1 driver for a change. Maybe team him up with Romain Grosjean to ensure he improves his race starts out of sheer self-preservation."

    Matt Claypole: "If they were younger, it would have to be Jean Alesi and Rubens Barrichello. Otherwise, I'd say Paul di Resta and Jenson Button. Old or new, they have talent."

    Tweet us using the #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those texts.

  65. 1126: 

    Ferrari's Felipe Massa is in the groove. He improves to 1:22.100 for the second fastest time of the day, 1.5 seconds adrift of Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes.

  66. 1123: 

    Davide Valsecchi is back out on track in his Lotus after his stoppage earlier in the morning. The Italian is joined out on track by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, McLaren's Sergio Perez, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and Caterham's Giedo van der Garde.

  67. 1115: 

    Adrian Sutil has completed his first flying lap of the day - and it's a 1:23.284 - to go fourth fastest, 2.7 seconds off the pace.

  68. 1108: 

    Mark Webber improves on his personal best of the day by a second but stays fifth, just under three seconds off the pace.

  69.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:
    Force India pit crew

    "Force India are spending the first few of hours today getting 'old new boy' Adrian Sutil up to speed with with pit stops. It may only be a year he has had off but it is not only the car that has moved on - pit stops are now down in the 2.5 seconds region and they can win or lose a race very easily."

  70.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "As we reported on Friday, Ferrari have a number of upgrades to their car at this test, but Alonso made it clear that they will not run their definitive first-race package until Friday practice in Australia. Despite the problems Ferrari had last year with new parts not proving to be an improvement, Alonso said he was confident they would work well. 'It has been a trouble-free winter for us in terms of correlations,' he said. 'Every time we put new parts on the car they work for us in the way we predict or expect. No big worries but Australia is not the final race of the championship, the package of Australia is just the starting point of hopefully many packages.'"

  71. 1100: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    We're back under way in Barcelona.

  72. 1056: 

    Davide Valsecchi has brought out the second red flag of the day, the Italian parking his Lotus up at Turn Three.

  73. 1055: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes quicker again, this time shaving off three tenths to clock 1:20.558 on marked soft tyres, 2.3 seconds clear of the field.

  74.  

    Lotus: "Romain had to return to Paris as he'd run out of clean socks. He's packed a couple of spare pairs this time."

  75. 1054: 

    Romain Grosjean is onboard a plane from Paris, bound for Barcelona. Lotus are confident he will be back in the car this afternoon for "some bonus track time in the dry".

  76.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished Friday last on the time sheets simply because of the way his day panned out with the weather, but he sounds confident he can battle for the title again this year. 'I don't see any reasons to not think so,' he said, 'because last year it was a very difficult winter, we were completely lost. We have now a car that is responding well to what we change, a car that is doing what we expect the car to do. We know we are maybe not the quickest still but the starting point or the potential of this car is there. We can touch it now. Last year it was a dream to make that car work., this year to make this car work I think will be much easier.'"

  77. 1049: 

    Adrian Sutil clocks his first timed lap of the day - and it's decent. A 1:23.284 on medium tyres is good enough for third fastest - 2.467 seconds off the pace.

  78.  

    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean: "On my way to jump into my #E21."

  79. 1045: 

    Felipe Massa has improved, moving up to fifth with a 1:24.046 in his Ferrari, 3.229 seconds off the pace after 39 laps.

  80. 1042: 

    Davide Valsecchi finally gets a time on the board in the Lotus. The Italian clocks a modest 1:26.106 which is good enough for ninth fastest, 5.289 seconds off the pace.

  81.  
    GET INVOLVED

    James Holman: "What a lap time by Hamilton! Is that Merc really that quick?"

    Tim: "Could Mercedes have found the fundamental design flaw in their 2012 car? Certainly the way to make up the gap to the rest."

    Andy Noakes: "Hamilton's pole lap at Barcelona last year was a 1.21.7 - nearly a second slower than his quickest this morning!"

  82. 1037: 

    Lotus say conditions have improved so much, they can finally remove their gilets for the first time since arriving in Barcelona. Now if that's not insight, I don't know what is.

  83.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:
    Ferrari

    "Ferrari's new exhaust detail is very similar to their previous version. The exit is just that little bit lower and the vertical walls are not as wide. This will slightly alter the direction of the exhaust gases and increase the velocity, helping produce a little more downforce on-throttle."

  84. 1033: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson has been down at Ferrari examining their exhausts. Here's what he found...

  85. 1030: 

    Caterham report that it was a sensor failure which brought Giedo van der Garde to a half out on track. It's a quick turnaround, though, and the Dutchman is already preparing to head back out.

  86. 1028: 

    Esteban Gutierrez has leaped up into second in his Sauber, but he's still 1.9 seconds adrift of pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.

  87.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Lewis Hamilton did that 1:20.8 on a five-lap run, so that means the Mercedes will at least do a 20.5. No-one else has proved that yet."

  88.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson in Barcelona:
    Max Chilton

    "Max 'chilled-out' Chilton keeping an eye on his new-team Jules Bianchi's first day in the Marussia. Max says he is happy with the extra days' testing he was able to do while his new team-mate was sorted and that he is fully focused on Melbourne."

  89. 1018: 

    Lewis Hamilton isn't hanging about. The Mercedes does nails a blistering 1:20.817 to extend his lead to nearly three seconds.

  90. 1012: 

    Pastor Maldonado - running his shiny new Red Bull-style sidepods - has completed his first timed lap of the day - a 1:28.317 which is good enough for ninth place.

  91.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Sebastian Vettel was asked on Friday how he felt about Lewis Hamilton supplanting him at the top of the leaderboard on Top Gear's F1 Star In A Reasonably Priced Car to the tune of 1.1 seconds recently. Typically, he was in good humour. 'He was cheating,' he said. 'No. Of course I would like to (have another go). I wanted to carry on when I was there but at some stage they said we had to get on with the show.' What did Vettel think of Hamilton's time? 'Pretty impressive,' he said. 'It was quite a big difference to everyone else. I need to go there again and maybe find a trick.'"

  92. 1006: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The track has been cleared and we're up and running again in sunny Barcelona.

  93. 1003: 

    So just to remind you, Lewis Hamilton is quickest - 2.465 seconds fastst than anyone else - after completing 30 laps in his Mercedes. Jean-Eric Vergne is second in the Toro Rosso followed by Red Bull's Mark Webber, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez.

  94. 1000: 

    The marshals and low-loader are at the scene - shouldn't be too long before the stricken Caterham is out of the way so we can resume running.

  95. 0955: 
    RED FLAG

    It's our first red flag of the day, folks. Giedo van der Garde has stopped his Caterham out on track. The team say it's a mechanical issue.

  96.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Williams have had a delayed start to this morning's running because they were fitting a major bodywork upgrade to their car. They have adopted Red Bull-style rear bodywork - which is very different from most of the other teams. It has a sloping panel to help guide the exhausts gases down to the floor edge, where most teams have a bodywork bulge and blow them across a gap. It's no coincidence that all the major Renault teams now have this design - Red Bull, Lotus and Williams. Their exhaust blowing must work differently from that of Mercedes and Ferrari engines. More from Gary Anderson later."

  97.  
    GET INVOLVED

    HLG: "I would sign Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas because they are both young, quick and consistent."

    Domathy May: "I would have Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, they both have very good race pace and can pull out good results."

    Fahad Khan: "Alonso would be my Number 1 driver any day. I would pick a promising rookie like Valtteri Bottas to compliment him."

    If you were a team boss, who would your two drivers be? Tweet us using the #bbcf1 or text 81111 (UK only). PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR TEXTS.

  98.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "If McLaren feel ever so slightly behind, the same cannot be said for Red Bull, and that has to be worrying for their rivals - after all, Sebastian Vettel won the title last season after a pretty sticky start to the season. 'It is very difficult to know in terms of pace where are,' Vettel said. 'We have a rough idea - it's fine, we are happy with the balance and the way the car behaves but whether that is enough we don't know at this stage. It will be close until the end (of the season) and we are not even at the beginning. (But) generally we are happy with the balance of the car. I think it is a better starting point to what had last year.'"

  99. 0948: 

    Mark Webber is up to third overall in his Red Bull, clocking a 1:24.317 which is 2.78 seconds shy of Lewis Hamilton's chart-topping lap.

  100. 0940: 

    Sauber say that Esteban Gutierrez, who is currently fifth fastest - 3.745 seconds off the pace - is focusing on aero work this morning before moving on to a qualifying and race simulations.

  101. 0934: 

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says the unmarked tyres Hamilton was using for his quick lap were the prototype soft. To clarify, prototypes are exactly the same as normal softs, just made in a different location.

  102.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Very impressive 1:21.534 by Lewis Hamilton to go fastest. Fuel-corrected, he could have done at least a 1:21.2. He's running unmarked tyres. To emphasise, it's the fastest time of winter by Hamilton. "Battling to be in top 10"? Mmm, think he'll do rather better than that."

  103. 0928: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Here are the first few of your driver pairings if you were a team boss:

    TJB: "Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, two super quick drivers who would be hard to beat as team-mates."

    Joe Duffy: "I'd definitely have Fernando Alonso as my number 1, and, although he won't like it, Mark Webber because he is the best 'No.2' out there."

    Matheus Almedia: "First choice would probably be Heikki Kovalainen. Second would be Jaime Alguersuari. Nevertheless Jules is a promising young driver."

    Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only).

  104.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "If you had to pick one driver and one team who are most pleased about the turn in the weather, you'd probably go for McLaren and Jenson Button. He is not driving on Saturday - it's team-mate Sergio Perez's turn - but Button says: 'I need another day in the car. Not to feel it. The feeling is there; I understand it. They're not that different but in terms of set-up work we definitely need another day. Dry weather and circuit temperatures in the 20s, 30s is what we need.'"

  105. 0923: 

    Lewis Hamilton lights up the timing screens with a blistering 1:21.534 to extend his advantage at the top to 2.5 seconds. The 2008 world champion has been busy, completing 23 laps - the most of anyone so far.

  106.   
    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "In the pit lane trying to catch up on developments, Red Bull have a new front wing assembly. The main area of development is the wing profile interaction with the front wing endplate. To better understand the airflow in this area they are running with a large aerorake behind the left front wheel It's a bit like a manhole cover mounted vertically."

  107.  
    GET INVOLVED

    From John in Oldham: "Massive year for Paul Di Resta. The next big thing when he came into F1 but Nico Hulkenburg outshone him last season and surely it wont look good for him if Adrian Sutil comes in and beats him after a year out."

  108. 0917: 
    GET INVOLVED

    In the last few days, Force India went for experience in Adrian Sutil for their final seat while Marussia decided to give Jules Bianchi his Formula 1 debut. If you were a team owner, which two drivers would you try to sign?

    Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those texts.

  109.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "After Jenson Button said he had been impressed with Mercedes' form in pre-season testing, Nico Rosberg on Friday admitted he was 'pleased' with the way things had gone. But then - in a question that referenced last winter, when Mercedes also looked competitive ahead of a season in which they slipped dramatically from form - someone asked, 'as pleased as last year?' Rosberg got the joke. 'Unfortunately yes!' he said. 'Because we did have a fairly decent winter programme but then it didn't go too well at the first two races but I'm confident we can be a bit better.'"

  110. 0911: 

    On Friday, McLaren's Jenson Button said his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team are showing good pace ahead of the new season. "I really don't know who's quick," said Button. "But the one team that has been consistently quick has been Mercedes more than anyone else."

  111. 0908: 

    Davide Valsecchi has completed his installation lap in the Lotus which means Williams driver Pastor Maldonado is the only driver yet to make an appearance today. Lewis Hamilton still leads the way, having completed 16 laps in his Mercedes, from Jean_Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso and Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

  112.  

    Lotus: "We can officially deny any made-up reports that #Kimi was out partying with HRH Queen Elizabeth II."

  113. 0901: 

    Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi, who is standing in for Kimi Raikkonen who is ill, has been buckled into the Lotus with the team just about to fire up the engine. Shouldn't be too long before we see the Italian out on track for the first time this year.

  114. 0855: 

    Jean-Eric Vergne goes second quickest, seven tenths of a second off the pace after 12 laps in his Toro Rosso. Marussia new boy Jules Bianchi has completed five laps but has yet to cross the line to set a timed lap.

  115.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "If you want an illustration of the problems drivers have been experiencing throughout winter testing so far, have a listen to Mercedes's Nico Rosberg. The graining he mentions, incidentally, is when the surface of the tyre rips, dramatically reducing grip to the tune of seconds a lap. 'After one or two laps the tyre starts opening up with graining,' Rosberg said. 'You look in the mirror and the whole tyre is grained all the way across and that dominates everything. It varies from one run to the next. It is varying all the time and that makes it very difficult.'"

  116. 0848: 

    Mark Webber has brought his Red Bull out to play in Barcelona, clocking a painfully slow 1:47.501 before heading back to the pits. Felipe Massa, meanwhile, has popped his Ferrari up into third fastest, after nine laps, three seconds adrift of Lewis Hamilton.

  117.  

    Williams driver Pastor Maldonado: "Good morning everyone... Nearly ready to go.... Important day!"

  118. 0843: 

    It may not be time to whip out the shorts and flip flops yet, but temperatures in Barcelona are looking encouraging for this time of the morning. We've got an air temp of 10C with the track temp three degrees higher.

  119.  

    Caterham: "Front ride-height and front wing flap adjustments for Giedo before his next run."

  120. 0837: 

    Lewis Hamilton is our new leader, clocking a 1:23.326 to go two seconds clear of the field in his Mercedes. The 2008 world champion has already clocked 16 laps.

  121. 0833: 

    Sergio Perez sets the first timed lap of the day - 1:26.459 - as the McLaren chrome livery glistens in the Saturday morning sunshine in Barcelona.

  122. 0827: 

    Williams are delaying the start of their running today as some further upgrades from the factory arrived his morning and they're busy bolting them onto the car. Once the team are ready to go, Pastor Maldonado will be get behind the wheel before handing over the car to Valtteri Bottas.

  123. 0822: 

    Marussia's Jules Bianchi has just returned to his pit box having completed three installation laps in his new office. Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Caterham's Giedo van der Garde have also been out for their first run. No times on the board yet.

  124. 0814: 

    Brazilian Luiz Razia is understood to have been dropped after sponsorship problems - the team appointed him because they needed a driver to provide funding.

    Anyhow, all that means Marussia have spent the morning preparing Jules Bianchi for his first run in the car - as well as taking the standard photos for the team's photo album.

  125.  

    Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne: "Nice and dry weather here in Barcelona, ready for the last day of testing before Melbourne!"

  126. 0810: 

    Marussia have had their hands full too. Shortly after testing finished yesterday, the team announced that Frenchman Jules Bianchi - who missed out on the Force India drive - would drive for the team alongside Max Chilton after terminating the contract of Luiz Razia.

  127. 0807: 

    Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez have all been out for their mandatory installation lap - Hamilton's done three no less - before diving back to the pits.

  128. 0803: 

    It's been a busy morning over in Barcelona with Lotus caught off guard when Kimi Raikkonen - who was set to get his first run of this test - phoned in sick - with a stomach upset according to the team.

    The team's reserve driver Davide Valsecchi has stepped in while they try to get Romain Grosjean back to the track. His return is anticipated around lunchtime.

  129.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "After two days of intermittent rain and cold temperatures, the drivers are looking forward to this weekend immensely. The forecast is for sunshine and temperatures around 14C, which means track temperatures of well over 20C and tyres that might finally work properly. Real testing, then. And for those of us watching maybe, just maybe, a sense of where teams stand ahead of the new season. Bring. It. On."

  130. 0800: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The green flags are flapping which can mean only one thing - the pit lane has opened its doors and were up and running. Let's. Go. Testing.

  131.  

    Caterham's Giedo van der Garde: "Last day of testing [for me] before the season starts. It is dry so let's have a good day with a lot of laps, busy program! Enjoy it."

  132. 0757: 

    Good morning and welcome to our live text commentary of day three of the third and final pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. The pit lane opens for business in just three minutes, so buckle up - it could be a bumpy ride.

  133. 0755: 

    Two down, two to go. We're at the halfway point of the final pre-season test which has been battered and bruised by rain. But the bad weather looks set to finally relent with two days of blissfully dry conditions predicted. With plenty of catching up to do for the teams, today and tomorrow could prove very crucial indeed.

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