Mercedes remains certain that they have nothing to fear regarding reliability, despite the team’s 2014 car, the W05, stopping out on track for the third time in just two days in Bahrain.
The Brackley-based squad have taken the mantle of pre-season favourites after their strong showing in Jerez, where they completed the most laps of any team, in direct contrast to the struggles of rivals Red Bull Racing.
However, despite Lewis Hamilton topping the time sheets on Friday with a lap of 1:34.263, the 2008 champion spent most of the afternoon in the garage after a hydraulics issue on the W05 brought an unscheduled end to the team’s first attempt at a race simulation.
For Hamilton, these issues are to be expected, and should not be seen as a sign that the team has anything to fear, with the season opener in Australia fast approaching.
As the 29-year-old indicated: “I’m looking forward to completing a race simulation next week as we didn’t quite get to finish it today. We’re trying to find any issues we can now to prevent them happening during a race situation, so from that perspective it’s a positive that we were able to find and fix something again today.
“The car seems to be responding well to my style of driving and the power unit is looking promising, with all of the Mercedes-powered teams completing good mileage.
“We won’t know where we are for definite until we get to Melbourne so we’re just continuing to focus on our run programmes, keep positive and look forward; the team has done a great job to get where we are today so we just need to keep that going.”
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes’ Executive Technical Director, echoed Hamilton’s comments, adding that despite the setback of the failure, the experience would enable to the team to respond appropriately on Saturday, when Nico Rosberg takes over at the wheel of the W05.
“Today was a good day overall”, said Lowe. “We ran a programme in the morning looking at some of the softer tyres, which was very useful to learn a bit more about the car, especially looking at a single lap.
“We attempted a race distance but suffered a failure that halted this for a while. We did manage to get back out and continued with that until the end of the day to post a good amount of laps.
“Not a trouble free day, but we learnt a lot about the car from a performance and reliability point of view, so we can come back tomorrow in even better shape.”
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG