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Formula One: Hamilton storms to Barcelona best


Lewis Hamilton laid down an impressive marker ahead of the new Formula One season on Saturday when he set the best time on the third day of testing, his Mercedes thriving in the dry conditions.

The 2008 world champion, who had also set the benchmark in Thursday's opening session, clocked 1min 20.558sec, beating the fastest time of 1min 21.848sec in last month's four-day test at the same circuit set by McLaren's Sergio Perez.

Driving on super-soft tyres, Hamilton was the only man to dip below 1min 21sec with Ferrari's Felipe Massa taking second place ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil.

The new season starts in Melbourne on March 17.

Leading times:

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:20.558 (117 laps), 2. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari) 1:21.266 (94), 3. Adrian Sutil (GER/Force India-Mercedes) 1:21.627 (109), 4. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams-Renault) 1:22.305 (34), 5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams-Renault) 1:22.468 (31), 6. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:22.553 (99), 7. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull-Renault) 1:22.658 (59), 8. Sergio Perez (MEX/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:22.694 (101), 9. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:23.223 (114), 10. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault) 1:23.380 (46), 11. Davide Valsecchi (ITA/Lotus-Renault) 1:23.448 (16), 12. Jules Bianchi (FRA/Marussia-Cosworth) 1:24.028 (74), 13. Giedo van der Garde (NED/Caterham-Renault) 1:24.235 (126)