Maldonado finishes third day at Barcelona on top

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F1 Test, Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Not only was it chilly on the morning for the third day of testing at Barcelona, light drops of rain expected throughout the day adds a bit of complexity as teams continue with their 2015 season preparations.

As the lights went green, Sebastian Vettel was the first man out on track. He soon found out the conditions were not what he expected, immediately parking his Ferrari in the gravel trap on the outside of turn 5. Not a good start for the 4 time World Champion.

When the car got recovered, Williams and Lotus were quick to go out for an installation lap, the Lotus in particular being fitted by a big rake just ahead of the left sidepod. Jenson Button entered on track a few minutes later while Sauber reported to be still busy getting its car together following gearbox issues on Friday.

McLaren still doesn't seem to get their ducks in a row as Jenson Button stopped on track less than 90 minutes into the day's running. The team is trying very hard to resolve the problem as JB reported a total loss of power when he pulled up on the side of the road.

Two hours in the session and the predicted rain still hasn't start to fall. The wind speeds at the track however are much higher than the previous days and the track temperature remains low with only 11 degrees. Don't expect fast lap times any time soon

At 11:30, with the lunch break approaching, Lewis Hamilton, who started his first full day of testing after getting sick on Thursday, is the fastest man on track with a lap time of 1:26:142. The Briton is followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel with a time of 1:26:407 and Felipe Massa in the Williams (1:26:912).

Rookie driver Max Verstappen has done the fastest lap so far today. The Toro Rosso driver posted a 1:25.417 on the soft tyre and is thus 1.403sec faster than Lewis Hamilton. This all went down as Sauber is preparing Marcus Ericsson to take the track for the first time today after the gearbox problems on the car.

At 12:20, the drivers decided to enter the pit as the light drizzle from before began to come down more heavily.

After the lunch break, the slick tyres had to be used again as rain continued to fall at the Barcelona track. Once the sky was clear again, Pastor Maldonado set the fastest lap time of the week so far on the supersoft tyre (1:24.348). In the meantime, Daniil Kvyat started a race simulation in his Red Bull car.

Despite the fact that the McLaren was repaired before the lunch break and reappeared on track for 5 laps, Jenson Button has not left the garage this afternoon until 16:30. The team stated on twitter that they found similar issues to Thursday and that they resume testing with limited power to the MGU-K. A new re-engineered seal is scheduled to arrive at the garage and will be applied later this evening.

At the end of the afternoon, the red flag was brought out as both Jenson Button and Max Verstappen stopped their car on the track. This meant that only 10 minutes of track time remained for the drivers.

None of the drivers managed to improve the time of Pastor Maldonado. The Lotus driver was followed by Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. The three frontrunners, Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat were the only 5 drivers to complete more than 100 laps today.

Testing will continue tomorrow at Barcelona.


1.P. MaldonadoLotus F1 Team01:24.348104
2.M. VerstappenScuderia Toro Rosso01:24.379129
3.L. HamiltonMercedes Grand Prix01:26.076101
4.M. EricssonSauber01:26.34053
5.S. VettelFerrari01:26.407105
6.D. KvyatRed Bull01:26.589112
7.F. MassaWilliams01:26.91255
8.P. WehrleinSahara Force India01:27.33381
9.V. BottasWilliams01:27.55649
10.J. ButtonMcLaren01:29.15124