Hamilton sets the pace at Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton maintained the slight speed edge that McLaren have shown against rivals Ferrari in Barcelona, when he topped the times on the first day of this week's final full pre-season test

Hamilton sets the pace at Barcelona

The morning had started in damp conditions but a dry line appeared in the early afternoon to allow teams some chance to get on with evaluating their final developments ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's best lap was just a few hundredths of a second faster than Kimi Raikkonen, with Michael Schumacher returning to action in the 2008 car to set the third best time.

Kazuki Nakajima maintained the continued impressive pace of the Williams to end up fourth quickest, ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Williams teammate Nico Rosberg.

Nick Heidfeld recovered from a mechanical problem in the morning, that left him stranded between Turns 4 and 5, to set the eighth best time.

The other red flags were brought out by Sebastian Vettel, who went off at Turn 3 at 10.05am, and Nelson Piquet, who touched the pit wall entry just before 1pm.

Adrian Sutil delivered some encouraging news for Force India as he set the 11th best time as they ran their 2008 car for the first time.

The Toyota team had a low-key day, with Timo Glock down in 15th, right in front of test drivrer Kamui Kobayashi.

"Again, these were not the ideal conditions for testing because of the damp start to the action," said Glock. "We did some running in the morning but not much because the track was changing so much. It became more stable during the second half of the afternoon and that went better for me.

"We worked on finding a set-up direction to suit my driving style better. We found an improved car balance and I was much happier with it today. We couldn't try everything because we were a bit short of time in the afternoon but it was a good day."

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.276 78 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:22.319 82 3. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:22.428 83 4. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.724 54 5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.852 71 6. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.974 108 7. Alonso Renault (B) 1:23.021 79 8. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:23.075 75 9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:23.091 62 10. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:23.115 71 11. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:23.188 95 12. Klien BMW-Sauber (B) 1:23.239 43 13. Liuzzi Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:23.270 70 14. Piquet Renault (B) 1:23.442 42 15. Glock Toyota (B) 1:23.609 86 16. Kobayashi Toyota  (B) 1:23.880 29 17. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:24.460 115 18. Wurz Honda (B) 1:24.667 109 19. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:24.826 25 All Timing Unofficial 
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