Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s encouraging start to pre-season F1 testing continued on Wednesday, as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton hit the 170 lap mark to take the new W08’s running total for the week to 2,281 km – more than seven full race distances of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Valtteri was behind the wheel in the morning, focusing on aero data collection in the colder temperatures, before moving on to analysis of the softer tyre compound and setup work in preparation for Melbourne.
The Finn added 75 more laps to his week’s tally and had the honour of ending the day at the top of the leaderboard – his 1:19.705 on the UltraSoft tyre the fastest lap of any driver so far this week in Barcelona.
Valtteri: ‘The car is running well and it’s feeling better and better’
“I think it was another good session,” said Valtteri. “We completed lots of mileage and the entire programme that we’d planned to do – including some long and short runs, collecting information on the different tyre compounds.
“We did some aero work to start with in the morning when the conditions were cold, then moved onto testing different settings on the car. It was a pretty straightforward day again, so I think everyone has done a great job so far. The car is running well and it’s feeling better and better.
“It was definitely easier today without the windy conditions and I was able to experience the new car a bit more. One more day of testing left this week, with the wet running on Thursday, so I’m looking forward to getting more laps in tomorrow.”
Lewis: ‘It’s been a great test so far for the team’
Lewis hit the track in the W08 in the afternoon, completing his first race simulation of pre-season testing before rounding off the day with aero setup work and a round of pit stop practice.
“It’s been a great test so far for the team,” said Lewis. “Everyone at the factory has worked so hard to build a car that goes the distance. As always on these test days we’re just trying to get through as much as possible, in terms of reliability.
“The main thing is I got my first race run done today with no problems at all. Everything’s worked well, which I’m happy about. The car is running smoothly and we’re just running through setup items to tick off boxes at this stage.
Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport bounced back from a difficult morning on Thursday to end the first pre-season test of 2017 with an impressive haul of 558 laps (2,597km) over the four days of running – more than eight full race distances of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the equivalent of driving from Brackley to Barcelona via Stuttgart with a few kilometres to spare.
Lewis Hamilton had been set to test the new W08 EQ Power+ in the morning – but the three-time Formula One World Champion’s programme was unfortunately curtailed before he could turn a wheel, as the team investigated an electrical fault.
While Lewis did not get to run, team-mate Valtteri Bottas had a more productive day – chalking up 59 laps after a strong team effort in the garage to get the car turned around for the afternoon session.
Valtteri: ‘It was interesting to test in the damp track conditions’
The Finn worked through a busy programme, completing the team’s first run on the Wet and Intermediate Pirelli tyres before rounding off the test with tyre analysis on the dry compounds.
“Unfortunately the final day was a little bit shorter than we were hoping for. But overall it has been a very good four days for us in Barcelona,” said Valtteri. “As a team, we really made the most out of this week. We’ve done a lot of mileage and I learned a lot.
“Today we did some good running on the extreme wets and the intermediate tyres, before crossing over to the slicks. It was interesting to test in the damp track conditions and we got some very useful information about the intermediate tyre. We ended the day completing long runs on the slicks to build up our understanding of the tyres ahead of Melbourne.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the team this week. Once again, all the mechanics and engineers have done a great job. And a big thanks to everyone at the factory too because the car has run so well.”
The Silver Arrows will be back on track next week for the second of two pre-season tests in Barcelona.