Hamilton impresses to top the timesheet
Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton has stunned several critics by setting the fastest time of the day, an impressive 1:20.558. Ferrari's Felipe Massa was second fastest, 7 tenths off of Hamilton's qualifying lap. Adrian Sutil was 3rd, another three tenths slower.
Today's session was sunny and dry, hence all teams were extremely happy with the chance of doing some valuable testing work. As such, a lot of them completed close to 100 laps today, some even more.
At Williams of course mileage was a little lower as the team was busy evaluating the new ramp exhaust introduced only this morning. Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas shared driving duties, but their runs were usually not longer than a few laps.
Mark Webber meanwhile lapped even less with just 58 laps on the tally. Red Bull were extremely busy in the garage and frantically hiding anything from the press when the car returned to the pitlane. Often the car was sighted with flowviz on front and rear wings to evaluate the updates bolted onto the car during the morning.
Lotus had Davide Valsecchi initiate the running as Kimi Raikkonen was unfit to drive due to food poisening. The GP2 champion didn't come further than 16 laps, partly due to a stoppage halfway in the morning session. Romain Grosjean, already on his way back home, was called by the team and ordered to return immediately. The Frenchman returned to the car to run in the afternoon session, completing 46 laps.
Ferrari enjoyed a fruitful day, apart from the last 15 minutes of the session. Massa suddenly found himself with the left front wheel loose of his car, fortunately without further damage. The car was taken away from the circuit to restart the session for 10 minutes, during which several lower ranked drivers managed to improve their times.