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LIVE COMMENTARY: BAHRAIN SECOND 2014 TEST - TEST DAY THREE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Test day three
By Matt Beer, Edd Straw, Glenn Freeman and Ben Anderson
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
05:57 Good morning and welcome to AUTOSPORT's live coverage of the third day of Formula 1 testing from Bahrain.

With six of the 12 pre-season test days now complete, we have reached the halfway stage of teams' on-track preparations for the 2014 campaign.

Given the new rules package for this year, it's fair to say that all the teams are behind on their to-do lists compared to recent seasons, so the pressure is starting to mount to move on from simply troubleshooting their new cars and start doing some proper testing.

06:00 Here's the driver line-up for today. Of note, Williams has made a change to its plan and will run both of its drivers today. Remember, Felipe Massa received hardly any running on day one as a result of a wiring loom problem:

Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo
Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari - Kimi Raikkonen
Lotus - Pastor Maldonado
McLaren - Jenson Button
Force India - Sergio Perez
Sauber - Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso - Daniil Kvyat
Williams - Valtteri Bottas/Felipe Massa
Marussia - Max Chilton
Caterham - Marcus Ericsson

06:01 The track is open for today, and the Williams of Bottas is the first car out.

He's followed onto the track by Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham, Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber, and Max Chilton in the Marussia.

06:04 Jenson Button has headed out for his first lap of this test in the McLaren.

06:05 If you want a quick refresher of what happened yesterday, here's the full report from a day when Kevin Magnussen went quickest for McLaren and Red Bull began to rack up miles at last:

Bahain test day two report

06:07 Button pits at the end of his installation lap for a front wing adjustment, and heads back out immediately.

06:08 A bizarre moment for Lewis Hamilton at the end of his first lap of the day. The Mercedes driver headed towards the pit entry, but he aborted at the last moment and stayed on the track to be the first car to complete a run past the pits.

06:09 No such dramas for Hamilton next time around, as he pits without setting a time.

06:13 Nothing on track at the moment. Marussia - which only completed 17 laps on a troubled day two - reports that it is now carrying out "routine installation checks" after Chilton's first lap of the day, to make sure everything is in order.

06:15 After Ferrari teases with a picture of the back of Kimi Raikkonen's head on its Twitter feed, the Finn heads out for his first appearance at this test.

06:18 We have our first time of the day - a 1m40.8s courtesy of Esteban Gutierrez.

Williams pit crew06:20 Williams is clearly getting down to some serious work today. The team revealed on its Twitter feed that its race pit crew will be in action today for some pitstop practice.

06:21 Another lap from Gutierrez, and another improvement as he finds four tenths.

06:23 The Sauber has had the track to itself for a few laps now, and as Gutierrez starts his seventh tour of the day he is joined out there by Ericsson.

06:25 Pastor Maldonado heads out for his first public run in the Lotus E22. The Venezuelan has already logged some laps in the car during the team's 'promotional' running at Jerez, and now he will be hoping for some better luck than team-mate Romain Grosjean has had so far this week.

06:28 Grosjean was anything but chirpy at the end of his two days of running. While there seems to be plenty of promise in Lotus's design, that late start is looking very costly, as GLENN FREEMAN found out:

Is Lotus running out of time?

06:28 Daniil Kvyat is back in the Toro Rosso today, and he takes it out for the first time.

The Russian was unfortunate to log only five laps on day one due to reliability gremlins, but he will have been buoyed by team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne getting 58 in the bag yesterday.

06:31 Kvyat's outing means we have seen nine of the 11 cars in the first half an hour of the day.

There has been no sign of Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull yet, while Force India reports that "it will be a little while" before the VJM07 takes to the track today.

06:35 Gutierrez and Bottas are circulating at the moment, but both are paying regular visits to the pits so not setting any times.

06:39 Bottas passes the pits once but comes back in before he sets a time, as Williams makes good on its promise to carry out some pitstop practice. That leaves Ericsson and Button on track.

06:40 Ericsson sets a time - of sorts. He's on the board with a 1m50s.

06:42 No surprise to see him better that on the following lap, but Caterham is clearly building up to speed slowly so far.

As it stands at the moment, the team has set the fastest lap for a Renault car this week, with Kamui Kobayashi just managing to dip under the 1m40s mark at the end of yesterday's running.

06:45 Kvyat kicks off with a 1m42s, and follows it up with a 1m41s. Another lap and he matches his total from day one.

06:47 Another driver (and team) hoping to play catch-up today joins the leaderboard, as Max Chilton puts the Marussia P4.

06:48 We have our first stoppage of the day, with Kvyat, Ericsson, Chilton, Bottas and Hamilton all on track.

06:49 Everyone bar Chilton has made it back to the pits, as the course car sets off onto the track.

06:53 We're getting reports that the Marussia came to a smokey halt, on what was its fifth lap of the day.

06:54 Before today's running, Marussia only had 20 laps to its name at this test so far. So more reliability gremlins will be a cause for concern at that end of the pitlane.

06:55 Prior to the Sakhir test, team boss John Booth had been optimistic enough to set Marussia a target of regular Q2 appearances this year.

But while Booth's team looks to have a few issues, it might be comforted by Kamui Kobayashi's declaration last night that its main rival Caterham will be stymied by its Renault engine:

Kobayashi: Renault can't compete with rivals at present

Toro Rosso on a truck06:57 Some of you may have noticed that some pretty routine red flag stoppages seem to last a lot longer in Bahrain than they have in recent years during testing at European circuits.

Part of the reason for that is that the flatbed trucks used here don't have a mechanism attached to lift cars off the track.

So they have to be accompanied by a separate truck to put the car on there in the first place, and then wait for that truck to join it in the pits to return the car to the team in question.

07:08 Marussia confirms that Chilton stopped at Turn 4.

07:09 And with that, the car makes its way through the back of the paddock on the truck, so hopefully the track will be clear.

07:11 Pastor Maldonado is making his public debut for Lotus in Bahrain today. Here are the thoughts of new team-mate (and fellow father) Romain Grosjean on their emerging relationship:

"So far, so good. We've met a few times in the factory. He's nice. We can speak about babies, we can speak about racing. We can work together and I think it will be a nice collaboration.

"He's a very quick driver when everything goes well, and that's important to keep me improving my driving."

07:14 After a stoppage of nearly 30 minutes, we are green again.

07:16 Ericsson, with 10 laps on the board already today, is the first car out.

He's joined soon after by Gutierrez, Hamilton, Button, Maldonado and Kvyat.

And...we have our first sighting of the Red Bull as Ricciardo joins the track.

07:17 Understandably, it's just an installation lap for Red Bull at this stage.

07:18 Former world champion Jenson Button has replaced Kevin Magnussen in the cockpit of McLaren's MP4-29 in Bahrain today, and the team has admitted that it worked through the night to get the car ready in time:

@McLarenF1: "Our boys worked through the night to get MP4-29 ready for @JensonButton this morning. Well done guys, fantastic job!"

07:19 Button and Hamilton set their first times of the day. The McLaren goes to the top of the order, while the Mercedes slots in at the bottom.

07:21 Maldonado sets his first time of pre-season in the Lotus, and shortly after that Hamilton tops every sector of the lap to go quickest.

Button improves too, but it's not enough to move him up from P2.

07:23 Hamilton and Button back off to the 1m56s, while Raikkonen starts what appears to be a flying lap and then pits before he completes it.

07:24 Both silver cars turn the wick up again after that slow lap, and both Brits improve to maintain their positions at the top.

07:27 McLaren has been impressing with its pace so far, but yesterday's fastest man Magnussen insists that the team still has to "improve in all areas".

Magnussen: More to come from McLaren

He did also hint that he was feeling pretty chuffed, though...

07:28 More fast-slow-fast-slow from Hamilton and Button, and the Mercedes driver pits having clocked up 10 laps so far.

07:32 By 2014 standards this has been a pretty busy start to day three. We've seen 10 of the 11 cars (no sign of Force India yet), and seven of those 10 are already into double figures on the lap chart for the day.

Pastor Maldonado07:35 Renault's head of track operations Remi Taffin made some eye-catching declarations about Lotus yesterday, claiming that the troubled team could do "60 or 70 laps" today if it wanted to.

Maldonado has made a promising start on that front, logging 10 laps already in the E22.

07:37 Our F1 Editor EDD STRAW has got the latest on Force India, which is the only team we haven't seen yet today.

The team says that the hold up this morning is simply a delay from overnight work that took longer than expected. It has just fired up the engine, and is now doing a weight check with Sergio Perez.

07:37 Bottas has headed back out in the Williams. The team completed just five laps with Felipe Massa at the wheel on Wednesday, but Bottas did 116 yesterday as the team caught up after fixing the car.

"We had some wiring loom problems, stuff like that, not maybe so big but these days the system is so complicated," said Bottas.

"Everyone in the team is learning all the time. That’s what testing is for. Hopefully we can see all the potential problems here rather than in Melbourne.

"I'm very happy with the work the team did to solve all the problems overnight. It was the first proper day for us without any problems – a clean day. Hopefully we can have these kinds of days a lot more now."

07:39 Williams currently tops the lap chart for today, having already surpassed 20. However, Bottas doesn't have a time on the board yet as the team's programme is focused on pitstop practice with its race crew this morning (see 06:20).

07:44 While Bottas takes a short break from driving in and out of the pits, Hamilton and Gutierrez take to the track.

The Mexican drops under 1m40s for the first time today.

07:45 Hamilton's first flying lap of this run is a new fastest time for the day, as he finds three tenths of a second.

07:49 Raikkonen sets his first timed lap of this test, kicking off with a 1m43s.

After a cooling-off lap, Hamilton's next effort is around 0.8s slower than his best.

07:50 Sergio Perez takes to the track for the first time in the Force India with 1h49m of today's running already completed.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen improves slightly and drops into the 1m42s.

07:53 Another improvement from Raikkonen gets him down to a 1m41.9s, while Ricciardo takes the Red Bull out for its third lap of the day.

07:55 The gradual improvement from Raikkonen continues, and this time he finds enough time to move into the top five at Kvyat's expense.

Lotus line-up07:55 Lotus held a mini-launch last night and revealed its full five-strong 2014 driver line-up.

The list includes ex-Caterham and Marussia racer Charles Pic as 'number three'.

Here's the full story, and a rundown of the 2014 F1 subs bench so far:

Pic and Sorensen get Lotus test roles

07:56 Ricciardo stays out to post his first time of this test. Fair to say it's a gentle start as he logs a 1m47s, 12 seconds adrift of Hamilton's pace.

07:58 Ricciardo trims three seconds from that first effort to move off the bottom of the pile (of drivers that have set a time, that is).

08:00 Maldonado heads back out in the Lotus, and his 12th lap of the day is a new personal best.

Hamilton catches the eye with a new best first sector, but he backs out of the lap and crosses the line 14s down on his benchmark.

08:03 Hamilton delivers on the promise of that previous lap he backed out of, setting best times in the second and third sectors and clocking a new fastest lap for the week, narrowly beating Kevin Magnussen's best for McLaren yesterday.

We also have a first timed lap for Perez on the board, as he goes fifth and then pits.

08:04 Force India has had a delayed start to its day, but Perez is now getting down to work with aero runs in the VJM07.

@clubforce: "Back to the track - this run will feature aero work to collect data. It is a crucial part of our programme!"

08:08 On track at the moment we have Maldonado and Bottas in action. As we've already mentioned, this is a promising start for Lotus, which has 17 laps under its belt today already.

The unfortunate Romain Grosjean only managed 26 laps over two days!

08:12 Maldonado brings that run to an end, so Bottas and Williams are left to their own devices as the pitstop practice continues.

08:16 Ricciardo rejoins the track to take Red Bull into double figures on laps for the day. Gutierrez heads out too, setting a lap nearly two seconds adrift of his best.

08:19 We've sent BEN ANDERSON trackside this morning. He's near the backstraight at the moment and reports a "strange knocking noise coming from the Red Bull as it accelerates".

08:21 That was a short run for Ricciardo, who is now back in the pits. Gutierrez is still pounding round, and Bottas continues to perform out- and in-laps for Williams.

08:23 Mercedes says it is working through "different set-up changes" with Hamilton - currently fastest - this morning.

Red Bull08:26 EDD STRAW: "There has been a lot of talk about the extra cost of F1's 2014 regulations, but one area that has been overlooked is the effect on the human side.

"With so much to do, so many problems to troubleshoot, personnel have been working flat out all winter. To some, the toll it is taking on them is very visible, with plenty of haggard, drawn faces around the paddock.

"Because of this, teams are operating a shift-based system during testing. Shortly before 5pm yesterday, a bunch of Red Bull crew arrived in the paddock for the start of their 'day', which will involve both analysis and work on the car itself. And Red Bull is far from alone in this.

"These new engines are a massive challenge, and at the first test at Jerez simple procedures like how to check oil levels were still being worked out. And still, component changes that will soon become standard procedure might take five times longer than they should as mechanics learn their away around their new cars and systems.."

08:27 Hamilton is clearly pushing. He runs wide - just beyond the exit kerb - coming out of the final corner, and posts a time less than half a tenth shy of his current best.

08:30 More from BEN ANDERSON at trackside. Firstly, he reports that the "knocking sound" from the Red Bull cleared later in that run.

He's now made his way to the end of the backstraight, where he's noticed that Hamilton and Bottas are braking "nearly 80 metres later" than Gutierrez in the Sauber at the moment.

08:32 While there's nothing on track, here's a recap of what we've seen so far this morning:

*Hamilton sets the early pace as Mercedes works on set-up
*Maldonado makes public debut in Lotus E22
*Force India delayed by overnight work taking longer than expected
*More problems for Marussia as Chilton comes to a smokey halt
*Williams working on race crew pitstop practice

08:43 The track is silent again. Still, it has been a busy morning, with all-but two of the teams (Force India and Marussia) getting into double figures on laps.

Nico Hulkenberg08:46 We've all noticed the floodlights going up around the Sakhir circuit in preparation for the Bahrain GP becoming a night race for the first time this year.

Force India put them to good use last night to get some 'moody' driver portrait shots. Here's Nico Hulkenberg striding provocatively by starlight.

(We think that's a PR set up shot anyway - he could just have been walking down the pitlane in his race kit looking a bit like he was doing some modelling, several hours after the session)

08:47 Here's the lap count as it stands:

Bottas (Williams) 33
Gutierrez (Sauber) 30
Hamilton (Mercedes) 25
Ericsson (Caterham) 19
Maldonado (Lotus) 18
Button (McLaren) 14
Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 13
Ricciardo (Red Bull) 13
Raikkonen (Ferrari) 12
Perez (Force India) 4
Chilton (Marussia) 4

08:47 And if you're wondering how Bottas has managed the most laps but doesn't appear on the leaderboard, it's because Williams has focused on pitstop practice all morning and is not interested in setting a time at the moment.

08:48 After that moment of quiet, we have Gutierrez, Perez, Ricciardo and Bottas on track. The Red Bull has just improved its best lap by nearly one second.

08:56 Button returns to the track after a long break in the pits, joining regular pit visitor Bottas on the circuit.

08:58 While Williams is not interested in laptimes this morning, Bottas is still trying to get something out of the two-lap (one out, one in) runs he is performing today.

He's set some reasonable sector times so far, and at trackside BEN ANDERSON has just witnessed him having a lock-up into Turn 4.

09:00 Button gets straight down to work, shaving around 0.7s off his previous best.

That's still comfortably adrift of Hamilton's time, as Mercedes has clearly been working on a different programme to its rivals so far today.

09:02 In a repeat of the runs we saw earlier from Hamilton and Button, the latter has again adopted the tactic of a fast lap followed by a slow one before attacking again.

It has worked nicely this time, as Button finds another two tenths on his next effort.

09:04 Button is even consistent with his slow-down laps - the last couple have been within a few tenths of each other around the 2m00s mark.

09:05 Gutierrez takes a few liberties on the exit of the final corner to finish of a lap of personal best sector times, moving him ahead of Button for second.

Button's next 'hot' lap is half a second down on his own best.

09:06 Ricciardo returns to the action with Red Bull after a stay of just over 10 minutes in the pits. That all seems quite routine compared to the hours between runs that Red Bull was almost becoming used to in this pre-season.

09:08 That's a new personal best for Ricciardo, although it's only a minor improvement.

09:10 The incremental gains continue for Ricciardo, who moves the RB10 up another position at the expense of Raikkonen's Ferrari.

09:12 This time Ricciardo dips into the 1m40s. Red Bull is yet to break the 1m40s barrier this week, so could today be the day?

Daniel Ricciardo09:14 BEN ANDERSON doesn't have the timing data with him at trackside, but he has detected that Ricciardo is "pushing on a bit now".

He also notes that "the Red Bull doesn't look as well-poised under braking as the Williams".

Kvyat and Ericsson return to the track after long-ish absences.

09:19 Still no laptime from Bottas, but for the record he is up to 45 laps for today.

09:21 The Finn sets a first sector time within one second of Hamilton's benchmark, before returning to the pits to give his crew more practice.

09:28 As EDD STRAW returns from "pretending to be a journalist" for a US TV snippet, we have Button, Perez and Ericsson in action. All three are pretty close together on track at the moment.

09:30 Button sets a new personal best on his last lap. Now down to a 1m37.2s in the McLaren.

09:33 Perez has shaved a few fractions of his best time, while Daniel Kvyat breaks into the 1m40s in the Toro Rosso.

09:36 For those of you just joining our live coverage from Bahrain, here's what we've seen this morning:

*Hamilton on top as Mercedes works on set-up
*Maldonado gets first public laps in Lotus E22
*Force India delayed by overnight work
*Chilton comes to a smokey halt after four laps
*Williams completes most laps, working on pitstop practice

09:37 We mentioned EDD STRAW's showbiz commitments a moment ago, and he also reported from Bahrain for The Racer's Edge with F1 Racing last night. Here's his round-up from day two:



09:41 EDD STRAW would like to address viewers following his appearance on The Racer's Edge:

"Pleasure to talk to Peter Windsor on The Racer's Edge last night. Apologies to all viewers who had to look at my face for longer than was entirely comfortable, but hopefully what I had to say about testing was entertaining and informative!"

09:45 The track is silent at the moment as all cars are sitting in the pits.

09:45 Why does Red Bull chief Christian Horner think a decision made by Flavio Briatore in 2009 is hampering F1's reigning champion's winter? Find the answer here...

09:48 Williams has stopped for lunch and will put Massa in the car instead of Bottas this afternoon.

@WilliamsF1Team: "driver change over the lunch break as @MassaFelipe19 will be in the FW36 this afternoon."

09:49 Red flag in Bahrain. It appears Maldonado's Lotus (which hasn't been out for a long time) has stopped.

09:52 Lotus sees the funny side of causing the latest stoppage.

@Lotus_F1Team: "E22 red flag test simulation complete."

09:56 There weren't so many laughs when Grosjean spoke to AUTOSPORT and the rest of the F1 media at Lotus's session last night, prompting GLENN FREEMAN to analyse the plight the Enstone team finds itself in with half of testing already gone:

Is Lotus running out of time?

10:02 Lotus has an explanation of sorts for Maldonado grinding to a halt in the E22:

@Lotus_F1Team: "What happened @Pastormaldo ? 'It just stopped'"

10:02 Flat-bed truck in the pitlane now so shouldn't be too long before we're underway again.

10:09 Green again in Bahrain. Gutierrez and Button are straight back out and the McLaren sets a personal best in the first sector on Button's first flying lap.

10:10 We haven't seen Kimi Raikkonen out in the Ferrari for a while. So far, he has done just 12 laps. This is because of a telemetry glitch. The team is taking a while to check and re-programme the system to ensure everything is as it should be.

10:11 Button finds 1.6 seconds on that lap to leapfrog Gutierrez's Sauber into second spot.

10:15 New personal best for Perez, who moves the Force India up to fourth on a 1m38.7s.

Ferrari pit10:15 When Raikkonen and Ferrari were out earlier, the team was being very, very careful to avoid prying eyes in the pitlane.

That might be purely because Raikkonen really, really dislikes media intrusion, though...

That picture, and a few hundred more, can also be found here:

Bahrain F1 testing gallery

10:25 Just Button on track in the McLaren now and he's improved his best time, setting a 1m34.976s to go second fastest, 0.713s slower than old team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

10:33 Gutierrez heads out on track to join Button.

10:34 Ericsson has also hit the track and improves his best time to 1m42.905s.

10:37 GP2 graduate Ericsson is now up to 38 laps for today.

That's a good start as after barely running at Jerez, he admitted that the lack of time for him to get up to speed in F1 pre-Melbourne was a bit worrying.

Ericsson admits he needs smooth Bahrain test

That story also features a reminder of the milestone role Ericsson played in the history of a famous F1 title-winner...

10:39 Kvyat improves his best time to move up to sixth. He's now done a 1m40.496s.

10:43 Button returns to the pits, but stops shortly after the entry. A gaggle of McLaren mechanics charge up the pitlane to push his car back to the garage.

10:44 Massa has taken over from Bottas at Williams and has just left the pits for the first time. Bottas didn't set a time, but did manage 55 laps as Williams worked through pitstop practice.

10:45 So the track is now starting to get a bit busier, with Hamilton, Kvyat, Ericsson and Massa all in action.

10:48 Massa posts the first flying lap of the day for Williams, a 1m40.227s, to go sixth fastest.

Ronnie Peterson10:49 AUTOSPORT editor CHARLES BRADLEY has just chipped in with a reminder that Caterham rookie Ericsson will be the first driver from Orebro to start a grand prix since Ronnie Peterson. The other famous Orebro resident? Stig Blomqvist.

Now to toss a coin to decide whether to illustrate that factoid with a Blomqvist or Peterson pic... It's an F1 day so better hold off on the Audi Quattro for now...

(Though fans of Group B rallying and iconic 1980s cars are in for a treat in next week's issue of AUTOSPORT magazine...)

10:50 Massa continues and improves his time to 1m39.528s to move up to fifth fastest ahead of Maldonado.

10:56 Hamilton, Massa and Ericsson are all pounding round at the moment, but there are no particularly eye-catching laptimes out there.

11:03 EDD STRAW has been in touch with Marussia to find out what has been going on since Max Chilton stopped earlier today:

"We have found an anomaly in the engine, which we are continuing to investigate. In the meantime, we are changing the engine in order to get the car back out on track as quickly as possible."

As we've heard a few times already this year, a 2014-spec engine change is not the work of a moment.

11:09 For those of you just joining us, here is a recap of today's headlines so far in Bahrain:

*Hamilton on top for Mercedes with fastest lap of the test so far
*Button matches Magnussen's pace on his first day in the McLaren
*Bottas does pitstop practice for Williams then hands over to Massa
*Marussia changes its engine after Chilton causes a red flag
*The Lotus breaks down after a solid start on Maldonado's debut

11:12 The arrival of an electronic brake-by-wire system is one of the huge array of techical changes for F1 this season - and it's taking a while for some teams and drivers to master.

Here's GARY ANDERSON's explanation of how it works, with technical illustrations from CRAIG SCARBOROUGH:

The secrets of brake-by-wire

11:13 Hamilton's Mercedes is the only car on-track right now, circulating in the mid-1m40s.

GLENN FREEMAN is being interviewed by the Danish media on the subject of yesterday's pacesetter Kevin Magnussen.

11:14 Hamilton brings the Mercedes into the pits, just as Perez heads back out in the Force India. Tag team testing!

11:19 Perez is winding up in the Force India now. Back down to a 1m39.3s as Gutierrez puts some more laps on the Sauber.

11:22 Perez brings the Force India back into the pits, leaving Gutierrez as the lone ranger on-track. The Sauber is lapping in the late 1m42s.

11:25 Massa ventures back out in the Williams. He's replaced Bottas in the car for this afternoon. Here's what he had to say on the team's progress so far in Bahrain:

"For the moment the car is similar to Jerez. Only some little changes. We should have some new parts for next week.

"I think at the end of next week the car will be more or less how it's going to be in Australia.

"The mileage is very important for all of us, because there are so few days for testing."

Red Bull11:28 Exotic new livery planned for Red Bull? Or more likely, some flo-vis paint on the side of the RB10.

11:29 Ricciardo's Red Bull has joined the action again. Gutierrez is still circulating, now in the low 43s.

11:31 Caterham is running a tight schedule for Marcus Ericsson today. Let's hope he doesn't get indigestion...

@CaterhamF1: "Quick break (20 minutes and NOT A SECOND MORE) for @Ericsson_Marcus to have some lunch then it's straight back to work."

11:36 Gutierrez is now in the 45s on his long run, while Ricciardo is lapping in the low 42s. The Australian has just dived into the pits, where Massa is spending much of his time while Williams continues its pitstop practice.

11:46 Button brings the McLaren into the pits, where he sits stationary for a few seconds before heading off.

While the mechanics didn't carry out any work on the car while it was sat in the pit box, they were out with the ever-growing black screens to shield the view of the car from onlookers.

11:46 A big week for Jenson Button, who has just got engaged to girlfriend Jessica Michibata according to McLaren. Congratulations!

@McLarenF1: "Huge congrats to @JensonButton and @jessybondgirl on their engagement! #attaboy"

11:50 Fortunately we haven't had too many stoppages today as the majority of the cars are getting more reliable.

But on the subject of red flags, EDD STRAW has been speaking to the Bahrain International Circuit operations director and clerk of the course Fayez Ramzy, who can offer an insight into the processes involved in vehicle recovery at these tests:

"We are under strict instructions not to touch the cars," he says. "When a car stops we red flag the session and wait until everyone is in the pits, then we pick up the team and take them to the car so they can recover it themselves and then we bring it back.

"We could easily restart sooner if the car was dropped outside or behind the garage, but the teams have insisted that they want the car into their garage from the front so we can't restart until it is inside. That is what takes the time."

Max Chilton11:54 The main reason the track recovery workers are not allowed to touch the cars is due to the new energy recovery systems being used this year.

Ramzy explains: "We had a red flag for half-an-hour this morning [when Chilton stopped], but the reason was that the car was not safe as far as ERS was concerned.

"Even the mechanics were standing there waiting for the car to be neutralised. Due to the evolution of the cars with the electrics, we don't touch the cars until the teams are out there and that is by their own request."

11:56 Only Button and Ericsson out on-track at the moment with just over two hours of the third day remaining. Here's the lap count so far:

Gutierrez (Sauber) 65 laps
Ericsson (Caterham) 60 laps
Bottas (Williams) 55 laps
Button (McLaren) 48 laps
Hamilton (Mercedes) 45 laps
Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 43 laps
Perez (Force India) 34 laps
Ricciardo (Red Bull) 28 laps
Massa (Williams) 24 laps
Maldonado (Lotus) 19 laps
Raikkonen (Ferrari) 12 laps
Chilton (Marussia) 4 laps

12:04 Our final point from circuit operations director and clerk of the course Fayez Ramzy involves the two-vehicle recovery system being used to retrieve cars here.

"Having two vehicles is much faster," he says. "For the flatbed with a crane to be used safely there are two arms you extend out [to stabilise it] and then you pick the car up.

"We have JCBs that lift the car, the flatbed goes underneath and the car is dropped.

"Then there is another crane dedicated to the pits that takes it off. For us, it's more expensive but it's much faster and more agile."

12:09 Raikkonen finally ventures back out on-track. 'The Iceman' has suffered a lengthy delay with telemetry issues on the F14 T.

Kimi Raikkonen accident, Nurburgring 200512:12 Raikkonen is one of the 'stars' of KEVIN TURNER's feature on the most heartbreaking near-misses in F1 history in AUTOSPORT magazine this week and in extended form online.

F1's greatest near-misses

At least the Finn went on to win a world title and has had plenty of GP success despite bad luck earlier in his career. For some of the drivers and teams highlighted in our archive trawl, a near-miss was as good as it got.

12:13 Straight back into the pits for the Ferrari, while Ericsson continues lapping in the Caterham. Button has just headed back out in the McLaren.

12:20 Perez is on-track too now in the Force India and has just shaved half a second off his best time of the day.

12:26 Raikkonen is getting back to business in the Ferrari. Now down to a 1m40.395s and seventh fastest.

12:29 Maldonado's lengthy stint in the pits is about to come to an end according to the Lotus team.

@Lotus_F1Team: "Problem found and rectified, time to go back out again soon."

12:30 Maldonando leaves the pits after a 1h45m delay in the E22. Button and Raikkonen are also circulating.

12:33 The chief reason for Marcus Ericsson clocking up the laps in the Caterham has become clear.

@CaterhamF1: "75 laps now completed for @Ericsson_Marcus which means he's passed the 300km mark required by the FIA to qualify for his Superlicence."

12:34 Well, that didn't last long. Maldonado brings the session to a halt again in the E22, after one installation lap...

12:37 Bahrain's special pitlane crane is ready and waiting to receive the Lotus in the pitlane (again).

Flo-vis, Red Bull F1 testing12:39 While we wait for the Lotus to return, GARY ANDERSON explains some of the specifics of aero paint: "Flo-vis is used by all the teams to try to understand the airflow on the surface of the body of an F1 car.

"The problem is that it can also lead you astray. It is made up from a liquid mixed with luminous particles. This is painted onto the surface and when the car leaves the pits this will be washed across the bodywork b by the airflow. The liquid will then dry off and leave flow lines.

"The problem is that if you have an airflow separation problem at high-speed you will never find it as the liquid dries before it can be influenced by the high speed flow.

"Another trick is to fit up a simple windscreen washer system with very small tubes (1mm diameter) finishing on the surface of the body.

"Then when you get to the higher speed section just switch on the pump. The fluid will wash onto the surface and you will get the results at high speed only."

12:43 The Lotus is back in the pits now, ready for the crane to do its work. Session should be back underway shortly.

12:45 Car is back in the garage now for some more troubleshooting. Crane departs the pitlane.

12:47 Back underway in Bahrain. Ericsson heads straight back out in the Caterham.

12:49 No surprise to hear that Lotus is "checking over everything" in the garage at the moment.

Meanwhile, Ferrari sends Raikkonen back out as he looks to build on the 20 laps (one less than Lotus) he has on the board so far.

12:52 A personal best final sector from Raikkonen on his outlap. You would think Ferrari would like this to be a busy final hour for the Finn and the F14 T.

12:54 That quick end to Raikkonen's outlap is followed - predictably - by a new personal best. It's only a minor improvement, and it keeps the Ferrari seventh.

12:57 Ferrari hasn't been very active on track today due to its telemetry problems, but Raikkonen is already closing on the lap total for Ricciardo and Red Bull today.

Raikkonen is now on his 25th lap, while Ricciardo has been sat on 28 for quite some time.

AUTOSPORT magazine12:58 Right now, as underlined by the latest red flag, the spotlight is on the car, not the drivers, at Lotus - but if and when the E22 goes going properly there will be a lot of attention on its pilot today, Pastor Maldonado.

He's a divisive character, whose signing wasn't universally welcomed by F1 fans when Hulkenberg was on the market too.

This week's AUTOSPORT magazine - which subscribers can read online while following testing without even having to head to a newsagent - is a Lotus special.

As part of it, we hear Maldonado's own views on why he thinks the media should lay off criticising Lotus - and how he can change perceptions of himself just as team-mate Grosjean has.

12:59 Perez finds nearly a second in the Force India, but it's not quite enough to get ahead of fellow Mexican Gutierrez for third.

13:00 Perez pits after that effort, leaving Button and the ever-present Ericsson circulating.

13:06 Caterham happy with Ericsson's progress today. The team is hoping to become the first Renault-powered squad to break the 100-lap mark.

13:13 Perez is on an eight-lap run for Force India as the track starts to get busier again with just over 45 minutes remaining.

@clubforce: "Less than one hour left in this session and Sergio has just left the pits. He is on a planned 8-lap run as our set-up work continues."

13:16 Maldonado's Lotus has been fixed (again) and the Venezuelan has headed back out on-track. Button, Gutierrez, Perez and Kvyat also circulating. Massa still on pitstop practice duty for Williams.

13:22 We haven't seen a lot of Red Bull or Mercedes this afternoon, so EDD STRAW is down in the pits to see what's going on:

"The Red Bull is up on stands and there's no sign of the frenzy of people scrambling to get it out again that we have seen on occasions. It seems they are done for the day."

"It's a similar story at Mercedes, although I've caught a glimpse of plenty of attention being paid to the front of the car."

13:22 A little more on Mercedes: the team just briefly fired the engine up in the garage.

13:23 Hamilton completed 25 laps in the first half of the day, and he has only added another 20 to that tally this afternoon.

Lewis Hamilton13:25 As we say that, EDD STRAW reports that the team is readying the car with a set of medium compound tyres to head back out.

13:26 Button, who has been pounding round for most of the afternoon, comes in for a (slow) practice pitstop and heads back out. From our vantage point it was difficult to say if that delayed departure was deliberate or the result of a wheel-change issue.

13:31 Massa takes a break from pitstop practice to set a time. He improves to 1m38.618s with just under half an hour to go.

13:34 A 39.2 for Massa on his next lap. Quicker in the first sector but loses time across the rest of the circuit.

13:36 Kvyat sets his best time of the day so far. A 1m39.3s lap is the fastest a Toro Rosso has managed in Bahrain so far.

13:36 Red Bull is done for the day. Only 25 minutes early not several hours like sometimes at Jerez.

13:36 But confirmation nevertheless that Ricciardo won't be back out due to unspecified problems.

13:38 The team's race engineer co-ordinator Andy Damerum says Red Bull found the problem while making set-up changes over lunch.

"In doing so we came across a mechanical issue that we hadn’t encountered before and because of its nature it means we have to take the car apart.

"As everyone in the pitlane is finding out this is a long process, so we decided to suspend running in the afternoon so that we can be ready for the final day.

"These issues are of course frustrating but this was unrelated to the others so it's just a case of tackling each issue as it appears.

"A tough night in prospect but we hope to get a good day in tomorrow."

Daniel Ricciardo13:39 Only 28 laps for Ricciardo after the 59 Vettel managed yesterday, but that's still better than the Australian got at Jerez.

"Obviously, I would have liked to do more this afternoon but we still have tomorrow ahead of us and it's important to be ready for that," he says.

"The car is definitely making progress though. It's coming together bit by bit.

"We'd love a big chunk all at once but obviously that's not the way these things work, so we have to be a bit patient for now."

13:41 Just over 20 minutes to go on day three in Bahrain. For those of you just joining us, here's a quick recap of the main talking points:

*Hamilton sets the fastest time of the week so far for Mercedes
*Maldonado makes debut for Lotus but suffers several car issues
*Telemetry problem restricts Raikkonen's running for Ferrari
*Red Bull finishes early after just 28 laps for Ricciardo
*Marussia manages only four laps thanks to engine problem

13:44 Raikkonen completes his fastest lap of the test so far: A 1m37.4s puts the Ferrari up to fifth ahead of Massa's Williams.

13:45 Raikkonen cools off on the next go around. He's now within a second of the best lap by team-mate Alonso during yesterday's test.

13:47 Raikkonen pumps in another flier, but falls a tenth short of improving on his best time.

13:49 Massa goes third fastest for Williams with a substantial improvement: 1.6s faster than his previous best.

13:52 Button surpasses the 100-lap mark for McLaren on his first day in the car. It's pretty hot here in Bahrain, so today's running will no doubt have tested his triathlete's fitness levels.

13:52 Ericsson is just eight laps shy of Button's tally. His latest effort is eight tenths better than his earlier best.

13:55 A much better day for Daniel Kvyat who has managed 54 laps in the Toro Rosso and just dipped into the 38s for the first time.

14:00 Chequered flag is out, bringing day three to a close here in Bahrain. Hamilton sets the pace for Mercedes on account of his best lap from this morning.

14:07 With everyone now safely back in the pits, here's the final lap count for Friday:

Button (McLaren) 103
Ericsson (Caterham) 98
Gutierrez (Sauber) 96
Hamilton (Mercedes) 67
Massa (Williams) 60
Perez (Force India) 57
Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 57
Bottas (Williams) 55
Raikkonen (Ferrari) 44
Ricciardo (Red Bull) 28
Maldonado (Lotus) 26
Chilton (Marussia) 4

14:12 Here's the full story of day three of testing in Bahrain:

Hamilton fastest, more trouble for Red Bull

That's it for AUTOSPORT Live today, but we'll be back from 6am UK time on Saturday morning for the final chapter of 2014 test two.



  FASTEST TIMES
P Driver Team Time
1  HamiltonMercedes 1m34.263s
2  ButtonMcLaren 1m34.976s  +0.713
3  MassaWilliams 1m37.066s  +2.803
4  GutierrezSauber 1m37.180s  +2.917
5  PerezForce India 1m37.367s  +3.104
6  RaikkonenFerrari 1m37.476s  +3.213
7  KvyatToro Rosso 1m38.974s  +4.711
8  MaldonadoLotus 1m39.642s  +5.379
9  RicciardoRed Bull 1m40.781s  +6.518
10  EricssonCaterham 1m42.130s  +7.867
11  ChiltonMarussia 1m46.672s  +12.409
All timing unofficial. Updated: 13:55 GMT
  OVERVIEW DAY THREE  
  CURRENT WEATHER
Clear skies High Temp: 24°C / 75°F
Track: Dry
  INFOBOX
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