Mercedes continued their reliable pre-season testing with another 162 laps being shared between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg took to the track in the morning and completed 74 laps, with a best time of 1:26.084, before Hamilton took over in the afternoon, completing 88 laps, with a best time of 1:26.421.
Rosberg stated his feelings on the morning run: “That was another very valuable day for us. It’s amazing to see that the car is already so reliable and we started trying some basic set-up changes this morning too. It was good to split the time on track with Lewis.
“The car is able to do so many laps, so I think it’s probably a more effective way of doing things. Two drivers doing half days will do better work compared to 160 or 170 laps from one person. We want to get the maximum out of the very few testing days we have this year, so to me it makes perfect sense.”
The German also commented on the big news of the day, the confirmation of changes of qualifying format in the future of the sport: “I also heard about the new qualifying format for 2017 [possibly 2016] today. I hope it stays simple and clear for the fans, so we’ll see that how that works out. But, in general, it’s definitely important that we rethink the sport and try to make it better from time to time, so I’m open to any improvements.”
Hamilton commented on his afternoon work, and gave an interesting insight into his activity: “It felt quite long out there today – even though it was only the afternoon session! We’d spoken about splitting the driving beforehand, so it wasn’t a surprise. I was happy to do full days – but they are long days, so the team felt it best to mix things up to keep us both fresh.
“I feel great now – but yesterday I was a bit sore. It’s a bit like going to the gym when you haven’t been for ages. If you do a hard workout straight away, you’ll be in pain afterwards. For your neck, in particular, it doesn’t matter how hard you train during the winter, driving just hits it in a different way that you can’t really simulate.
“It is quite tedious, too, going round and round all day. It’s not like a race, where you’ve got a strategy and you’re competing – fighting the clock and your opponents. But testing never has been the most exciting. I think in my younger days, back in Formula Renault for example, it was a big buzz. But by the time you’ve spent 10 years in Formula One, it just becomes the norm. It’s quite cool being out on track with the other new cars.
“Your gut reaction is to try to get close and see how they perform through the corners and along the straights. But that’s a waste, of time, really, so you have to resist! In any case, we’ve had a great start to testing as a team so far. The car feels very much like last year’s and we’ve done plenty of laps, so let’s hope it continues with a strong end to the week tomorrow.”
This work now means that the team have completed an astounding 490 laps during pre-season so far. It will be interesting to see whether the team can attempt to hit a total of over 600 laps by the end of the first test tomorrow evening.