Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest time of the week in pre-season Formula One testing on Thursday as Mercedes gave a powerful illustration of why they will once again be the team to beat in 2018.
After Wednesday’s testing at Montmelo was wiped out by the snow, Hamilton made up for lost time with a lap of 1 min 19.333 sec.
Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne, in a McLaren, was 0.521sec off the Briton’s pace while former world champion Sebastian Vettel in a Ferrari finished at 0.908sec back.
Thursday witnessed a bumper day of action as the snow and rain finally cleared with 1,101 laps racked up by the teams compared to 725 on Monday, 736 on Tuesday and just 17 on Wednesday, 11 of which were claimed by carefree two-time world champion Fernando Alonso in a McLaren.
Testing was briefly interrupted after Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Max Verstappen in a red Bull went off the track and into the gravel.
Testing resumes in Spain next Tuesday with the second and final pre-season test, which again takes place over four days in Barcelona.