Gearbox issues forced an early halt to Mercedes’ running on the second day of the final test in Bahrain, but the pre-season favourites still managed to put in a handy number of laps on what Lewis Hamilton described as an “average day” for the German marque.
The team’s W05 has proven to be by far the most reliable car of the field heading into a season featuring the most sweeping rule changes the sport has seen in a generation. As a result, the team have been able to rack up the miles, allowing them to understand how the new 1.6 litre hybrid power unit works and focus on unlocking performance from their challenger.
The car has also shown a decent turn of speed and many observers have tipped the Brackley-based outfit as favourites ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
However, Friday’s running was peppered with problems for Mercedes, who were conducting race simulations and set-up work, and, apart from the gearbox issue, the team had to cope with a failure of its energy recovery system and an early spin for Hamilton on cold tyres.
“Like every team, we’re encountering problems every day and we’ve still got some work to do in terms of both reliability and speed,” Hamilton said. “There are no specific problem areas, just lots of different things we need to improve.”
“It’s important to get as much mileage under our belts as we can and just as important to discover any problems before we get to Melbourne. It might be frustrating at times but finding them at this stage is actually a positive,” the 2008 world champion said.
Despite Friday’s problems, Hamilton managed to complete 89 laps of the 5.4 kilometer Bahrain International Circuit, matching team-mate Nico Rosberg’s count of laps from the opening day of the test.
The Briton was actually heading the mileage chart at lunch and set a time of one minute 39.041, ending the day seventh on the timesheets.
But the 29-year-old, who hands the car back to Rosberg on Saturday, is hoping for fewer disruptions when he jumps back into the car for the final day of testing.
“Today was a fairly average day but I’ve got one more to go before we get to Melbourne, so hopefully that will be a bit more productive.”
Images courtesy Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team