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The changeable conditions which blighted this morning's running gave way to altogether better weather late this afternoon at Barcelona, even allowing Valtteri Bottas to make a rare switch to supersofts in the final hour.
Understandably, there were a number of red flags, the first shortly after the start of this morning's session when Romain Grosjean spun at T12. Later in the morning Esteban Gutierrez went off at T3 and clouted the barriers, while late in the day Felipe Massa stopped on track at T9.
Once the session was given the all clear, even though there was just over fifteen minutes remaining, a number of drivers set their best times of the day, among them Webber. Afterwards, The Australian admitted that the rain hadn't been the only difficulty, with strong winds also making running tricky.
"It was pretty heavy, I must say. There was a big tailwind down to Turn One," he said. "And in other sections it was pretty dusty. The level of wind wasn't trivial but to be honest it was tricky enough anyway because of the greasy conditions on the track. We only got one hour at the end of the day in more stable conditions. We opted to put on a couple of sets of tyres at the end and see how it went and it was OK. We've still got more to come, but that was the most we could get done in a short limited programme in dry conditions at the end of the day."
"We're pretty pleased with how it went today," added Andy Damerum, Race Engineering Co-ordinator, "especially after the start to the session. It rained overnight and the track was quite damp this morning. That obviously forced us to adapt the run plan a bit, but we did get a lot of mileage on the full wet tyres, which was very good, as we didn't run those last week. In terms of what we went through, it was mostly just mechanical and set-up work. Overall, a good day and now we'll have to see what the weather has in store for us tomorrow when Seb will be driving."
Lewis Hamilton completed 113 laps in the Mercedes W04, the highest of any driver. His morning programme focused on tyre evaluations in the wet, mainly on intermediate tyres. He also completed race weekend procedure practice when useful running was not possible.
In the afternoon he completed a wet to dry race simulation on intermediate and then medium tyres. Over five days of pre-season testing Hamilton has completed the equivalent of nearly seven Grand Prix distances.
"The track started out really wet this morning but thankfully the conditions dried out later on and we were able to complete some proper running," said Hamilton. "It felt good to work through the race simulation this afternoon; both to get myself back in practice and to put valuable miles on the car.
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