BARCELONA, Spain – Lewis Hamilton set the pace for Mercedes as the second pre-season test of 2013 drew to a close in Barcelona amid damp conditions on Friday.
Heavy downpours resulted in the first two hours of running being blighted by red flags as drivers struggled to keep their cars on the slippery circuit. However, track conditions soon improved and, in a flurry of activity before lunch, Hamilton leapt to the top of the timesheets with a short run on medium-compound tyres.
Sadly for the teams, the rain returned after lunch meaning that none of the drivers was able to better his time in the afternoon session and any meaningful running was severely limited.
Hamilton’s former teammate Jenson Button ended up with the second-quickest time of the day for McLaren, with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in third.
Jules Bianchi did his chances of landing the second seat at Force India no harm by ending the day in fourth place, whilst Esteban Gutierrez – one of several drivers to end up in the gravel in the morning – clocked the fourth-fastest time for Sauber.
Behind Gutierrez, Giedo van der Garde took advantage of the conditions to deliver Caterham’s best position on the timesheets in testing so far.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Marussia’s Max Chilton and Lotus’s Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten.
Williams were the only team not to set a time on Friday, preferring, as they had their full race team with them, to focus on pit-stop practice instead.
The third and final pre-season test of 2013 runs from February 28-March 3 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.