Nico Rosberg says he is “surprised” by the amount of mileage that the Mercedes team has been able to complete at the first winter test in Spain.
It is early days, but the car certainly looks the most reliable of the bunch. Rosberg even managed a full race simulation on Friday morning and with 91 laps under his belt, the team decided to change its schedule and put his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the car for the afternoon running.
“It’s come as a bit of a surprise that we were able to do so many laps here today and throughout the whole week,” said Rosberg. “I was able to do a full race simulation on only the fourth day of winter testing, so we can be very happy about that. We decided that I should stop driving at lunch time and hand over to Lewis as I had collected a lot more mileage than him at the time, which is a normal team decision.
“It’s been a decent start, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us in the next six weeks because it’s such a big mission to get reliability with these new cars. Performance-wise we don’t know where we are because you can’t really compare to the other cars, but that’s not the focus right now. We’ve learned a lot this week so it’s an encouraging start to the year.”
Hamilton says he is “encouraged” by the running completed so far: “It’s been a fantastic week for the team,” said the Brit. “We’ve put a lot of laps on the car which is a huge accomplishment. It’s a bit early to say this definitely, but right now the car feels pretty good.
“Like every year we’ve got a lot of work to do; it’s a new challenge this season and the workload is maybe a bit higher than in previous years, but it’s a new experience for everyone and I’m enjoying it.
“This week has just been about getting the mileage on the car and we’ve managed to do that quite successfully, which is really encouraging as reliability is the biggest positive we could hope to take away from here. So far so good; now we just have to continue working hard and see what happens in Bahrain.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic