February 28, 2015 / 6:48 PM / 4 years ago

I'm as ready as I can be, says Hamilton

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his pre-season testing with another fastest lap for Mercedes on Saturday.

Mercedes Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leaves from his garage during pre-season testing at the Jerez racetrack in southern Spain in this file photo taken on February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

The Briton, still feeling the lingering effects of a bug that laid him low in last week’s second test, produced a best time of one minute 23.022 seconds on the soft tires at the Circuit de Catalunya.

That was 0.240 of a second quicker than Felipe Massa in the Williams, although the Brazilian set his lap on faster supersoft tires, but still slower than Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg’s 1.22.792 on Friday.

Hamilton will make his next appearance in the car in Friday practice for the March 15 Melbourne season-opener, a race he failed to finish last year.

“It’s been generally quite good,” he said when asked to sum up his winter testing program. “Great job done by the team and everyone at the factory to get all the components here. Reliability has been strong.”

The 30-year-old double champion said every winter was different and felt he was heading for Australia “as good as we can be.”

The Briton could certainly have sounded better, however.

“I should be fine,” he told reporters as night fell on the circuit. “The bug’s been around...my mum, my sister, my nephew, several of my engineers have it so it’s just some nasty bug that’s going around.

“I’m kind of on the end of having that bug but it’s not really affected preparations.”

Hamilton managed 76 laps, less than anyone apart from McLaren stand-in Kevin Magnussen who did only 39 for the misfiring Honda-powered team and was halted by an oil leak.

“I put the lap together but the track today was quite slow compared to the first day,” said Hamilton, who now hands over to Rosberg for the final day.

“We think the tires and the circuit are behaving a little bit differently in these last two days.

“The track has probably been at least half a second to seven tenths slower than the first day.”

Nico Hulkenberg did the most laps, 157 for Force India, as that Mercedes-powered team played catch-up after giving their new car its debut on Friday.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen also managed 141 laps and was third fastest, with most drivers carrying out race simulations in the afternoon.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was slowest but was the only driver not to use the soft tires with his time set on the mediums.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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