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Bahrain F1 test: Lewis Hamilton leads third morning for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton comfortably topped the morning running during the third day of Formula 1 testing in Bahrain.

The Mercedes driver was well clear of the rest of the field as his team sent him out for short runs that were focused on trying different set-ups.

Hamilton adopted the tactic of slowing for a cool-off lap in between his faster efforts, something that Jenson Button was also doing for McLaren at the same time.

The two silver cars were setting the pace with that strategy, although Button was eventually usurped for second by Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber.

Bahrain F1 test in pictures

New Lotus signing Pastor Maldonado got his first taste of the team's E22 in public, as the Enstone outfit set to work on recovering the lost ground from a difficult first couple of days with Romain Grosjean.

Maldonado was relatively active on track in the early part of the day, but he then spent a long time in the pits after reaching 18 laps.

The E22 briefly returned to the track shortly before 1pm local time, but it was not out for long before stopping and causing a red flag.

Another team experiencing delays in the morning was Force India. Sergio Perez was the last driver to take to the track as his crew was held back by overnight work taking longer than it expected.

Daniel Ricciardo got a few laps on the board as he took over Red Bull's troublesome RB10 from Sebastian Vettel, but the world champion team continued to run at a cautious pace as it tries to get some mileage on the board.

Aside from Marussia, which caused the only red flag of the morning when Max Chilton came to a smokey halt at Turn 4 early on, the team with the least laps in the morning was Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen made a handful of appearances on track early in the day, but by the halfway stage he had only 12 laps to his name and was seven seconds off the pace set by Hamilton.

The Williams of Valtteri Bottas topped the lap count, although the Finn did not post a time as the team focused on pitstop practice for its race crew.

Pos Driver                Team                   Time       Gap      Laps
 1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1m34.263s            25
 2. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m37.180s  +2.917s   45
 3. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m37.258s  +2.995s   28
 4. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault          1m39.642s  +5.379s   19
 5. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes   1m40.339s  +6.076s   17
 6. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault       1m40.781s  +6.518s   23
 7. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault     1m40.801s  +6.538s   27
 8. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                1m41.336s  +7.073s   12
 9. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault       1m43.602s  +9.339s   33
10. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari       1m46.672s  +12.409s   4
11. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes      no time              55


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