Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are delighted with the reliability and speed of the new Mercedes F1 car for 2020, setting the two fastest laps in Barcelona’s first preseason test, as well as completing the most laps as a team.
Mercedes is the clear winner of the first Barcelona test with convincingly the best times, the most laps and with a new innovation that opponents will hardly be able to replicate quickly, if they will try it at all given the cost and the fact that the DAS system will be banned for 2021.
Hamilton and Bottas spoke positively about the ‘very driveable’ F1 W11 car, and times in one fast lap and longer stretches suggest that Mercedes is fastest again.
“It’s been a great effort from the team and great to see that the reliability is as strong as it is,” said Hamilton who chases his seventh F1 world championship this year.
” The car has felt pretty good out there. It’s been a solid first week and we’ve got some good mileage. It’s a true showing of all the incredible work everyone has done back at the factory and here at the track. I’m really proud of everyone.”
“We’ve got to keep working hard, analyse all the data from this week and figure out how we can move the car forward and build on everything next week.”
Bottas set the best time of the first test (1:15.732), 1.3 seconds faster than Raikkonen in Alfa Romeo, which was the closest competitor to Mercedes in one-lap speed.
“It’s been really fun today, especially getting to do some shorter runs and being able to push the car a little bit closer to the limits – seeing a little bit more of the performance of the car,” said Bottas.
“I enjoyed it and it felt really good out there. It feels like we made a step with the set-up since yesterday. The car is very driveable and I’m sure with some more hard work next week, we can make it better, which will be the goal.”
“Overall, it’s been a really good first test, we have made some improvements every day with the car. A big well done to every single team member to deliver the car and engine – great job! I’m looking forward to getting back in the car next week.”
Technical director James Allison says Mercedes will drive more on the softer Pirelli compounds in the second week after driving more on the harder mixtures in the first week, except for a few shorter runs on the two softest components C4 and C5.
“After the brief hiatus of yesterday, it was good to get a solid day of uninterrupted, reliable running today,” said Allison.
“Both drivers completed a programme of set-up work and an early look at the softer compound range. Just a very quick glimpse of that, but really useful preparation for the second week of testing where we have more of the soft rubber to bring.”
“It’s been a good first week, the car has been broadly reliable, and the performance has been reasonably good throughout the week. There are, of course, many things to work on and we’ll be trying to do that in week two. But it’s a really good baseline.”
“At the end of this first week, we start to get some sort of feeling for where all the teams are in the pecking order and especially now a few race distances have gone down. But it will be really interesting in the second week as our estimates start to refine further.”