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Hamilton continues Bahrain test domination

NEWS STORY
09/04/2014

The final day of the first in-season test of 2014 saw a familiar name at the top of the timesheets.

Three days after standing atop the podium at Sakhir, once again Lewis Hamilton was the man to beat, both in terms of pace and the number of laps completed.

Today's programme for the world championship leaders focused on tyres, with the Brackley-based outfit conducting a range of tests on behalf of Pirelli in line with the 2014 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

Hamilton emerged for his first run at 09:00 and completed 50 laps over the course of the morning and a further 70 laps in the afternoon, the Briton running right up to the chequered flag at 17:30.

"It's been a long day," he admitted, "running lap after lap to analyse the tyres but driving a Formula One car is never boring. Of course, the nature of a tyre test means we haven't learnt anything in particular in terms of improving the car but it's useful for Pirelli and therefore useful to us in the long term.

"They gave me different sets and I told them how each felt," said the winner of two of the opening races of the season, who was joined today by his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger. "The plan was just to get in as many laps as we could. The times mean nothing as everyone had their own programmes to run.

"It's been a fantastic few weeks for the team but also a long stint away, so I'm sure everyone is looking forward to heading back home for a well-deserved rest. Of course, it's a short turnaround before China so I'll be in the factory to work on ways we can improve."

At Toro Rosso, Jean-Eric Vergne replaced Daniil Kvyat. While yesterday, Kvyat spent the day doing long runs, today's programme involved shorter runs, while evaluating mechanical changes on the car. The job sheet focussed mainly on chassis work with the team making a major change to the suspension over the lunch-break.

Apart from that, Vergne ran a tyre evaluation programme, using the medium, soft and supersoft tyres. Overall, it was a useful two days, according to the Faenza outfit, as it made progress in its understanding of the STR9 and the various new elements on the car.

"It was not a completely trouble free day, but that's what testing is about," said Vergne. "That aside, we got some serious work done today that can inform us on the way to move forward for the next part of the season. From that point of view, today was very productive and important. We got some good answers about which direction to work in. Another plus point is that I feel the car itself has a good performance potential and will work really well, once we have everything under control, which is very encouraging."

At McLaren, Kevin Magnussen's programme began well enough, the team completing its planned aerodynamic correlation work, however, a car problem saw him go off into the gravel just before lunchtime, bringing out the red flag, and the team spent much of the remainder of the day repairing the subsequent damage to the chassis.

He was able to return to the track for the final half-hour of running, during which he set his fastest time of the day, but the lengthy repairs meant he was only able to complete 26 laps in total.

Sergio Perez, who finished third on Sunday following a strong drive in the Force India, completed 63 laps on his way to posting the fourth best time of the day.

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