Mercedes kicked off the first pre-season test of the 2017 season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalonia On Monday with new signing Valtteri Bottas getting the action started as soon a the lights went green, completing a total of 79 laps before the hour-long lunch break at 1 pm local time.
The day's programme focused on aerodynamic and vibration data analysis, followed by long runs to better understand the performance of the 2017 Pirelli tyres.
Valtteri was thrilled with his first real taste of the new Mercedes….
“It was a very good first morning for us. We were doing quite a lot of mechanical tests, checking systems, while trying to do mileage,” Valtteri said. “We did 79 laps, more than a race distance, which is very good for the first morning of running. If we are going to face any issues with the car I hope we can face them now. That's why we did more than a race this morning. That was our target. “
“We worked on long-runs, trying to gain all the information we could from these conditions. We didn't really care at all about lap times today. As a team we still have many more important days ahead of us. The main thing to do is to get the mileage in and the car had no issues. The guys have done an amazing job over the winter. I only started just over a month ago, but the way the car has been running is impressive. It's a good feeling. “
“I did a few laps at Silverstone, but now this is proper testing. It was very special to do the first few laps. This is a new era for Formula 1. The car feels very different to last year. You can definitely feel the impact of the new regulations - the increased loads, the bigger, heavier cars, and more grip. I think they look great. They're great fun to drive and they're fast in the corners too. Racing is still unknown, but so far so good. Physically the cars feel more demanding, but luckily I am well prepared for the season ahead.”