Mercedes has obstacles to overcome after opening F1 test

Lewis Hamilton aboard the Mercedes W13 during F1 testing in Spain

Mercedes ended the final day of Formula 1 pre-season testing with the top two times, but Lewis Hamilton suggests there’s work to do.

New regulations have promised a shakeup in the F1 pecking order, and while testing failed to paint a clear picture of the team’s relative performances, it did offer glimpses of what the coming season might look like.

Ferrari enjoyed three strong days of running in Barcelona, while McLaren proved both rapid and reliable.

Red Bull had a gearbox issue but was otherwise there or thereabouts, while Mercedes somewhat flew under the radar until showing late pace shown by Hamilton and team-mate George Russell.

“It’s been an interesting few days, it’s not been the easiest or smoothest running – we have some obstacles to overcome,” Hamilton said.

“We’d always want more laps but I’m happy with today’s running, I got almost 100 laps in today which for half a day’s running, isn’t too bad.

“The car is a lot different to drive than in previous years, as are the tyres, but we’re working our way through our programme.”

Mercedes ended the three days in Barcelona with 1837km of running under its belts, split almost 50-50 between its two drivers.

It’s best times came on the C5 tyre compound, the softest in Pirelli’s range, while their rivals best efforts came on the C4.

With fuel load and power unit modes added into the mix, Russell noted lap times offer little real insight.

“I don’t think the lap times are very representative at all, we were top of the timesheets today on the C5 compound which is incredibly strong around Barcelona, but I wouldn’t read much into it,” he said.

“The Ferrari and McLaren look strong and I think we’ve got lots of improvements to make, we’re not fully happy with the balance of the car and the other limitations we have currently.

“But it is only testing, we’re here to learn and we have made some important experiments this week and have a good idea of the direction we need to go in.”

With the opening test now complete, teams will head back to base before journeying to Bahrain for another three-days of pre-season running from March 10.

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