Hamilton puts Mercedes on top at Sakhir

Hamilton puts Mercedes on top at Sakhir

21 February 2014 – Lewis Hamilton delivered the fastest time of the week so far as pre-season testing continued in Bahrain on Friday. The Mercedes driver used Pirelli's Soft compound tyre to deliver a time of 1:34.263, just over seven tenths of a second quicker than McLaren rival Jenson Button.

Hamilton, who hands the W05 back to team-mate Nico Rosberg for the final day, soon worked his way down to representative lap times when the pit lane opened, eclipsing Kevin Magnussen's Thursday benchmark just after the two-hour mark, before delivering his ultimate pace-setting effort.

Button, completing his first laps of the gathering, was the only other driver to break the 1m35s barrier. In contrast to team-mate Magnussen's early troubles 24 hours ago, the Briton enjoyed a predominantly smooth day behind the wheel of the MP4-29 to surpass the 100-lap milestone.

More than two seconds further back, Felipe Massa rounded out the top three positions in the Williams. After team-mate Valtteri Bottas spent the majority of the morning practicing pit-stops, the Brazilian was handed an extra afternoon of running, having been severely hindered by technical issues on the first day of the test.

Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez followed in fourth, just ahead of fellow Mexican Sergio Pérez, whose Force India team failed to run in the early hours of the session due to a problem with car preparation overnight.

Kimi Räikkönen, another driver making his first appearance of the week, took fifth for Ferrari, but he could not complete as many laps as he had initially hoped to after the F14 T encountered telemetry issues.

Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat gave Renault a glimmer of hope after racking up 57 laps and significantly lowering the French brands's overall best time in the Middle East, albeit almost five seconds adrift of Hamilton.

Pastor Maldonado's Lotus was the cause of two red flag periods en route to ninth, while Daniel Ricciardo could only put together short runs in the Red Bull as the outfit's pre-season problems refused to clear up.

Marcus Ericsson was the second most active driver behind Button, the Caterham driver circulating a total of 96 times to hit the 300km mark required for governing body the FIA to issue him with a Superlicence.

Max Chilton, who completed just four laps before his car ground to a smokey halt and forced an entire power unit change, was the last of the timed runners, while the aforementioned Bottas brought up the rear.

Pre-season testing in Bahrain is scheduled to continue at 9am local time (GMT +3) on Saturday

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