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Hamilton and McLaren Quickest at Jerez on Day Four

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren - quickest in a late charge at Jerez on day four

Today Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren was quickest overall in the final session of four days of testing at Jerez.  He managed to record the only lap of the day in the 1:19’s, and he was more than half a second clear of the timed runner up, Adrian Sutil, in the Force India.

Although the morning session began on a damp track, there was no additional rain today, and by afternoon the track was completely dry.  Most of the teams took advantage of dry conditions to concentrate on making long, heavy-fuel runs.

Both Hamilton and Sutil set their quickest times in the final hour of the afternoon session, after the track had rubbered in from a full day’s worth of testing.  Most of the teams tallied up race-distance lap totals, although Felipe Massa in a Ferrari actually racked up a double race-distance in laps.

There were three red flags during today’s testing, one of which was caused by Sebastian Vettel, who made an impromptu visit to the kitty litter in his Red Bull RB6.  The other two were caused by Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher, the latter in a Mercedes.  Both drivers were on long runs, and deliberately ran their cars until their fuel tanks were dry, to test fuel consumption.

All in all, there were few conclusions to be drawn today regarding the teams’ relative performance.  Most of the teams were making long runs, on varying loads of fuel, so very likely their lap times weren’t really representative of their performance in qualifying trim.

One noteworthy point of today’s test: Virgin Racing finally managed to turn more than just a token handful of laps.  Lucas di Grassi in the VR-01 managed to rack up a total of 63 laps, with a best lap in the high 1:22’s.  While he was only ninth quickest on the day, and nearly eight-tenths behind Pedro de la Rosa, in the Sauber, who was eighth quickest, Virgin has at least established a certain level of reliability, and will have a base to work from when the teams resume testing in another four-day session at Jerez, beginning next Wednesday.

Image by f1photo.org, licensed through Creative Commons.

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1:19.583 113
2 Adrian Sutil Force India VJM03 1:20.180 82
3 Rubens Barrichello Williams FW32 1:20.341 90
4 Robert Kubica Renault R30 1:20.358 85
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes W01 1:20.613 83
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB6 1:21.203 89
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari F10 1:21.485 160
8 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber C29 1:22.134 105
9 Lucas di Grassi Virgin VR-01 1:22.912 63
10 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso STR5 1:24.072 98
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