Hamilton leaves Ferrari trailing in testing

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton had the measure of Ferrari for a second successive day as he again set the fastest time in the final pre-season test at Barcelona.

With the curtain-raising grand prix in Australia 19 days away, Hamilton and his McLaren team-mate, Heikki Kovalainen, were considerably quicker than the world champion, Kimi Raikkonen.

On a dry day, the 22-year-old was almost a second quicker than his best time of Monday, posting a lap of 1min 21.234sec. Kovalainen was 0.2sec behind, with Raikkonen almost 0.5sec off the pace and, while it is difficult to determine fuel loads in testing, Hamilton will be buoyed by the result.

For Williams, Nico Rosberg was fourth fastest ahead of Felipe Massa, who resumed testing duties from Michael Schumacher in the other Ferrari.

David Coulthard withdrew with a neck injury he sustained on Monday and, with Red Bull running two cars this week and Toro Rosso one, Sebastian Vettel switched between the sister teams, who will decide today whether Coulthard will return for Red Bull or whether Vettel will continue.

Jenson Button improved in his Honda, finishing ninth overall. But it was a grim day for the former champion Fernando Alonso. He finished 13th, with his Renault team-mate, Nelson Piquet, 18th of the 19 on track.

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