Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the third morning of Formula 1 testing at Barcelona on Saturday, recording the fastest at the Spanish circuit so far this year.
The Mercedes driver's time of 1m20.558s was set on soft Pirelli tires and put him over a second clear of the rest of the field, which was led by Force India's Adrian Sutil.
Hamilton was instantly on the pace, dipping into the 1m23s inside his first three laps thanks to the dry conditions that were in contrast to those experienced on Thursday and Friday. He gradually lowered his marker to its eventual 1m20.558s with just over an hour of the morning remaining, but significantly also set a 1m20.8s time on a set of mediums earlier on.
Sutil, who did not set a representative lap time until the morning was over two hours old, was 1.098sec slower than Hamilton and headed Felipe Massa's Ferrari.
Pastor Maldonado, who is handing over his Williams to teammate Valtteri Bottas for the afternoon, used the team's new Red Bull-style sidepods for the first time, and went fourth quickest on a set of super-softs, despite his programbeing held up by a delayed delivery of new parts.
Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez focused on aerodynamic work to begin with and was generally Hamilton's closest rival at the top of the times during the morning. He was knocked back to fifth in the final hour, ahead of McLaren's Sergio Perez.
The session was stopped twice, firstly when Giedo van der Garde's Caterham came to a halt at the exit of the Turn 5 hairpin, and later on when Davide Valsecchi's Lotus pulled off at Turn 3.
Valsecchi replaced Kimi Raikkonen in the E21 after the Finn fell ill. Romain Grosjean, who went home on Thursday after completing his pre-season program, is on his way back to resume driving duties.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.558s 56
2. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m21.627s + 1.069s 41
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.673s + 1.115s 63
4. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m22.305s + 1.747s 34
5. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m22.553s + 1.995s 47
6. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m22.694s + 2.136s 50
7. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.116s + 2.558s 36
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.223s + 2.665s 41
9. Davide Valsecchi Lotus 1m23.448s + 2.890s 16
10. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m24.307s + 3.749s 37
11. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m24.520s + 3.962s 54