Hamilton: Mercedes has made ‘a huge step’ in testing

Lewis Hamilton has hailed the 'huge step' made by Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has hailed the ‘huge step’ made by Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has suggested Mercedes has taken “a huge step” ahead of the 2023 F1 season following three days of pre-season testing.

Hamilton shared the new W14 with team-mate George Russell in Bahrain where the duo appeared to confirm their place towards the front of the grid.

While Red Bull was the class of the field, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was enthused by what he’d seen after the opening day of testing and subsequently reinforced by Hamilton’s own assessment.

“The bouncing that we had has pretty much gone,” Hamilton said.

“That’s a huge step for us. It’s nice to drive without the bouncing for once, but there are still some underlying things that we’re working through.”

Testing issues at Mercedes

A hydraulic issue for Russell on Saturday evening curtailed his running while Hamilton ran faultlessly through F1 testing for Mercedes.

Its two drivers combined for more than 2100km of running, broadly on par with Red Bull even allowing for the interruption on the second day.

Saturday’s running was a concern, however, with the team struggling to understand a sudden drop in performance.

Friday had been positive and despite stable conditions for Day 2 of running, the team struggled.

It appeared to recover from that for Saturday but it placed an asterix alongside the squad and speaks to the point Russell had made heading into the test that his team is not yet a race winner.

“It’s going to be tough, I think for everyone,” Hamilton said of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“This short period of testing, when I first started we had a lot more testing, so for anybody that’s coming in, you have a day and a half, it’s definitely not a lot of running.

“But these are all professionals and so we’ll so the best job we can.

“We’re trying to make sure we hit the ground running; it’s understanding the car and the tyres to the best of our ability.”

Opening practice in Bahrain kicks off at 14:30 local time (22:30 AEDT) on Friday.

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