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Formula 1

Hamilton ends F1 test on top with late soft-tyre run

by Josh Suttill
4 min read

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Lewis Hamilton led his new Mercedes team-mate George Russell on the final day of Formula 1’s first 2022 pre-season test at Barcelona.

Water was artificially sprinkled onto the track to allow the teams to experience some wet running at the start of the afternoon session. Once the water dispersed the times began to tumble, and Hamilton beat Russell’s morning benchmark with just over 15 minutes of the session remaining.

Hamilton, who completed 94 laps in the afternoon, was fastest in the opening two sectors and despite going three tenths slower than his personal best sector three, Hamilton edged Russell’s time by just under a tenth on the C4 tyres.

Hamilton then bolted on a set of C5 tyres (the softest available) and improved his time by a further 0.003s – albeit half a second slower than Russell in the final sector – to top the session on a 1m19.138s.

This left Hamilton 0.095s ahead of his Mercedes team-mate, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez rounding out the top three, four tenths slower than Hamilton.

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Reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen’s best effort from the morning was fourth quickest at the end of the day, with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel fifth for Aston Martin.

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were sixth and seventh fastest ahead of the Williams pair Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi.

The top 10 was completed by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo with day one pacesetter Lando Norris 11th.

The morning session was littered with a whopping five red flags.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Test One Day 3 Barcelona, Spain

Fernando Alonso’s Alpine A522 coming to a fiery stop around the 50-minute mark caused the first stoppage, and that prematurely ended Alpine’s Barcelona test with the team unable to repair the damage in time.

The team later confirmed his stoppage was the result of “a problem with the hydraulics” and that “a minor sealing issue led to a fire in the back of the car”.

Pierre Gasly caused the next session stoppage with an off at Turn 5 that caused considerable damage to the front of his AlphaTauri – so much so that the team also had to end its day early.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Test One Day 3 Barcelona, Spain

“Unfortunately, Pierre went off during an early baseline run, damaging the car, and despite the best efforts of the team we simply ran out of time to get it turned around and back out for Yuki [Tsunoda] to drive in the afternoon session, meaning our day ended early,” said AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton.

The sole 2022 rookie Guanyu Zhou then caused two red flags; the first was an off at Turn 10 after the long straight and the second was when his Alfa Romeo stopped on track in the closing minutes of the morning session.

The session did resume but only for Vettel to stop on track with an oil leak that would also end Aston Martin’s Barcelona test and cause the fifth red flag of the morning.

Haas, which faced difficult questions off track amid the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix and question marks over the future of its driver Nikita Mazepin, also had a curtailed day of running with its day ending in the morning due to a “suspected leak”.

Alfa Romeo’s other new signing Valtteri Bottas had another difficult day and logged just 10 laps in the afternoon session with an unspecified technical issue.

Day three times

1. Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m19.138s, C5, 94 laps
2. Russell (Mercedes) 1m19.233s, C5, 66 laps
3. Perez (Red Bull) 1m19.556s, C4, 74 laps
4. Verstappen (Red Bull) 1m19.756s, C3, 59 laps
5. Vettel (Aston Martin) 1m19.824s, C5, 48 laps
6. Leclerc (Ferrari) 1m19.831s, C3, 44 laps
7. Sainz (Ferrari) 1m20.072s, C3, 92 laps
8. Albon (Williams) 1m20.318s, C4, 94 laps
9. Latifi (Williams) 1m20.699s, C4, 13 laps
10. Ricciardo (McLaren) 1m20.790s, C3, 86 laps
11. Norris (McLaren) 1m20.827s, C3, 52 laps
12. Alonso (Alpine) 1m21.242s, C3, 12 laps
13. Zhou (Alfa Romeo) 1m21.939s, C3, 41 laps
14. Gasly (AlphaTauri) 1m22.469s, C2, 40 laps
15. Mazepin (Haas) 1m26.229s, C3, 9 laps
16. Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1m30.433s, I, 10 laps

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