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Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest on final day of F1’s opening pre-season test

Lewis Hamilton completed 94 laps on Friday (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Lewis Hamilton completed 94 laps on Friday (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Lewis Hamilton finished fastest on the final day of Formula One’s opening pre-season test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

The seven-time world champion ended the afternoon running just 0.095 seconds ahead of new team-mate George Russell as Mercedes completed a one-two.

Sergio Perez finished third, one place ahead of Red Bull team-mate and defending world champion Max Verstappen, who was six tenths off Hamilton’s pace.

Lap times in testing have to be treated with a degree of caution as the teams tinker with different fuel loads and engine modes.

However, Hamilton, bidding to avenge last season’s contentious title defeat to Verstappen, will take comfort in finishing top of the order.

“It has been an interesting few days,” said Hamilton, who managed 94 laps.

“It has not been the easiest or smoothest running and we have definitely got some obstacles to overcome.

“But I completed almost 100 laps which in half-a-day is not too bad.”

Asked where he thinks Mercedes stood following the first action of F1’s new technical era, Hamilton replied: “You never do on the first week. We have no idea where we are.”

Russell added: “The three days in Barcelona have been incredibly intriguing.

George Russell finished within a tenth of Hamilton
George Russell finished within a tenth of Hamilton (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I don’t think the lap times are very representative at all. I wouldn’t read much into it.

“The Ferrari and McLaren look strong and I think we’ve got lots of improvements to make. We’re here to learn and we have made some important experiments this week and have a good idea of the direction we need to go in.”

There will be three further days of testing in Bahrain before the season-opening race in the Gulf Kingdom on March 20.

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