F1 2018 Testing Day Four: Lewis Hamilton back on track, back on top
World champion makes up for lack of running with quickest lap of Test One; McLaren top 140 laps and finish second fastest; Verstappen spins out
By James Galloway in Barcelona
Last Updated: 01/03/18 7:48pm
Lewis Hamilton belied his lack of winter running to set an impressive fastest time of Barcelona Test One on the final day of F1 2018's opening week.
The world champion had been restricted to just 25 laps over the opening three inclement days and only drove Mercedes' W09 in the afternoon on Day Four.
However, Hamilton had enough time to set by far the quickest - and most significant - lap time of this winter so far by unleashing a 1:19.333 on the medium tyres as the Circuit de Catalunya finally dried out.
Find out more about Sky Sports F1
Watch every race, qualifying and practice session live with Sky Sports F1 in 2018
The lap was three tenths quicker than Sebastian Vettel's previous benchmark from Day Two, set on softs, and fractionally faster than Hamilton himself went in testing at Barcelona last year.
Vettel, who topped 100 laps in the Ferrari SF71-H, was third, 0.9s back on his great rival.
The fastest laps of winter testing so far
|Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Day Four||Mediums||1:19.333|
|Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Day Two||Softs||1:19.673|
|Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||Day Four||Hypersofts||1:19.854|
|Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Day Two||Mediums||1:19.976|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||Day One||Mediums||1:20.179|
Hamilton finished half a second clear of second-fastest Stoffel Vandoorne, who had earlier improved McLaren's best time of the winter as the team again used the faster hypersoft tyres.
The Woking team had been second-last on the mileage charts after Day Three but the MCL33 completed in excess of 160 laps as Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, fifth quickest, shared running time.
"The car reacts properly and as per expectations," said McLaren racing director Eric Boullier.
"The aero stuff is as per expectations - so far, so good."
But it was a less satisfactory session for Day One pacesetters Red Bull, who completed just 35 laps after a long spell in the garage and then a late-afternoon spin for Max Verstappen.
The RB14 ended up in the gravel trap at Turn 12 but the team have yet to confirm the cause.
In a Day Four surprise, Kevin Magnussen took previously low-key Haas and their new VF-18 to fourth place on the timesheet with by far their best lap of the week.
Carlos Sainz was the faster of the two Renault drivers in sixth place as the Enstone team again split their running as the team worked to improve the RS18's early balance.
Williams were another team to use both their race drivers with Lance Stroll up in seventh, despite a trip through the Turn Three gravel trap, after Sergey Sirotkin had run in the morning's wet conditions.
Barcelona Test One, Day Four Timesheet
|Sergio Perez||Force India||65||Softs||1:21.973|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||35||Softs||1:22.058|
|Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||147||Supersofts||1:22.134|
The Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk for every day of the final test while Sky Sports News will also deliver live updates from trackside.