Date: 2nd March 2015 at 8:49am
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Mercedes remained on top on day three of the final winter test session in Barcelona.

After refusing to show their full hand until Friday, Mercedes have now shown that they do indeed look like keeping their competitive advantage going into 2015.

Up until Nico Rosberg set his blistering time on Friday, Mercedes had been content to work on reliability, focussing on long runs, working with higher fuel loads and harder compound tyres.

But on both Friday and Saturday, Mercedes were happy to some hot laps and whilst 2014 Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton could not better the time set by team-mate Rosberg.

However his time was set on the soft compound tyre and he was still able to set the fastest time of the day a full quarter of a second quicker than the Williams of Felipe Massa, which was running Pirelli’s supersoft compound.

?It wasn’t a particularly spectacular day, The track seems to have lost a bit of grip in the last few days so the feeling wasn’t as good. But I’m still glad we got some running done and I feel good in the car.

?We were trying to understand a few things today with the set up and it gave us a clearer indication of that in the afternoon. The guys in the team have been exceptional during these tests and I just can’t wait to get racing now – the fun stuff!?
Hamilton told formula1.com.

After taking some large steps forward on Friday, McLaren Honda took a step back on Saturday with Kevin Magnussen limited to just 39 laps due to an oil leak.

But despite the lack of running Magnussen was impressed with the new McLaren after he filled in for the injured Fernando Alonso.

?This year?s car is really different to last year?s, It feels much more consistent; it?s more predictable and driver-friendly. It?s not fast enough yet, but it feels like a solid baseline, and there?s obviously still plenty more to come. I think McLaren-Honda should have a good car if they continue in this direction.? he told the media.

It was another busy day for Nico Hulkenberg in the new Force India, with the team impressing again completing 158 laps.

?It was our first full day of testing so our main focus remained on getting to know the car, the way we set it up and its characteristics, I think we made some good progress in this regard and we managed to get a decent understanding of how the VJM08 feels under different conditions. That’s definitely a positive, although it remains very hard to judge where everyone is in terms of performance.? Hulkenberg said.

Unofficial Saturday testing times from Barcelona:
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m 23.022s
2. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1m 23.262s
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 25.276s
4. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1m 24.191s
5. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1m 24.200s
6. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1m 24.477s
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1m 24.939s
8. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1m 25.225s
9. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m 25.742s

 

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