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Formula One: Hamilton finds cold comfort in Barcelona

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time on the final day of Formula One testing Friday, but the cold, damp weather played havoc with teams' hopes of collecting reliable data.

Former world champion Hamilton drove his Mercedes to a best time of 1min 23.282sec off a modest total of 52 laps, a time set in the more favourable morning conditions.

Hamilton's former McLaren teammate Jenson Button was second fastest with 1min 23.633sec while Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne was third best with 1min 24.071sec.

"The conditions today meant that we didn't complete as many laps we would have done in the dry but we have gone through the test items that we wanted to achieve this week," said Hamilton.

"We have been working on our consistency over long runs and we managed one run this morning on dry tyres; the car felt okay but the conditions were also very cool, so we cannot draw too many conclusions.

"Like I said in Jerez, I can feel that we have a good foundation with this car but there is still a lot to learn and we know that the name of the game is to improve our downforce."

Mexico's Sergio Perez, who has succeeded Hamilton at McLaren, had the honour of the week's best time -- 1min 21.848sec set on Wednesday.

Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado did not complete a lap as the team concentrated on pit stops.

"This morning we were focusing on pitstop practice and despite the weather we were able to achieve a lot," said Bottas.

"The key things to work on as a driver are braking as late as possible for the pitlane speed limit to minimise the time lost, perfecting your positioning in the box and finally pulling away quickly and cleanly."

The new Formula One season gets underway in Melbourne on March 17, but there is another four-day test in Barcelona from February 28.

Friday's times:

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:23.282 (52 laps), 2. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:23.633 (70), 3. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:24.071 (80), 4. Jules Bianchi (FRA/Force India-Mercedes) 1:25.732 (61), 5. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:26.239 (96), 6. Giedo van der Garde (NED/Caterham-Renault) 1:27.429 (50), 7. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari) 1:27.563 (80), 8. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull-Renault) 1:27.616 (64), 9. Max Chilton (GBR/Marussia-Cosworth) 1:29.902 (51), 10. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault) 1:34.800 (41)

Week's top 10 times

1. Sergio Pérez (MEX/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:21.848 (174 laps), 2. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari) 1:21.875 (283), 3. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:22.160 (179), 4. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault) 1:22.188 (160), 5. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault) 1:22.197 (150), 6. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes) 1:22.611 (162), 7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus-Renault) 1:22.623 (87), 8. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams-Renault) 1:22.675 (178), 9. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:22.726 (173), 10. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams-Renault) 1:22.826 (189)

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