Lewis Hamilton sat and watched intently as his new teammate, Valtteri Bottas, took the new 2017 Mercedes out for its first official laps of the season on the opening day of testing at the Circuit de Catalonia on Monday morning, however he didn’t have too long to wait until it was his turn to get behind the wheel and finally drive the car in anger.
And drive it he did.
In the afternoon session the three time champion managed to complete a total of 73 laps before pit lane closed at 6 pm and together with the work his teammate did in the morning session, the Mercedes-Benz Power Units completed a total of 1,369km.
Just like his teammate, Lewis’ programme focused on aerodynamic and vibration data analysis, followed by long runs to better understand the performance of the 2017 Pirelli tyres.
After finishing the day at the top of the leaderboard, Lewis has stated that it was definitely a positive day….
“It's been a good day, a really positive day for the team. The car looks fantastic and it feels great,” he said. “We did lots of laps and collected loads of information today, so we can try to improve the car as we move forward. We've not done any work to get the balance perfect yet, as today was all about ticking off the list of checkpoints and racking up mileage.”
“I definitely put my body to the test today. These test days are like training. It was good to feel the wider, beefier car. It's faster, more physical... it's a beast! You've got to drive it a bit differently. It's so much better than last year's cars. The G-Forces are definitely higher. We're pulling two more G than we'd usually pull around here. There's so much more downforce, which is something you always want as a driver. You always want to go faster through the corners.”
“The tyres are so hard that they don't drop off. Most likely we'll be doing more one-stoppers. Normally you get a lot of degradation with these tyres - but these ones don't degrade. They're very consistent, and there's not a big difference between the feeling on the first lap and the last lap. “
“Over the next few days we'll start to look to improve the car. I still think we're the team to beat - but we have a lot of work ahead of us to do, the same as every single team on the grid. Right now we're just focusing on our own job to do the very best that we can.”