By Carol M. Creasey
On Friday 12th March, Mercedes drivers Sir Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas took to the track at Bahrain for the first day of testing. The day did not go as well as they hoped, as Bottas had to sit out most of the morning session whilst the team replaced his gearbox.
In the afternoon there were very windy conditions and a sandstorm, which made visibility very poor. When Sir Lewis was eventually able to get out, he only managed to clock up 42 laps, which left him down at the bottom of the mileage charts. It was clear that his car was struggling for both grip and balance.
On day two, after much data analysing, Sir Lewis took to the track first. Even though he suffered a spin, it did not deter him from clocking up 58 laps in the morning. In the afternoon Bottas took over, and was able to improve immensely from his six lap stint on Friday, and he finally topped the time sheets with a time of 1min 30.289 seconds. He did state afterwards that he was not sure how fast this time would be in comparison to the others, as the cars were all carrying different fuel loads.
On the final day Bottas took the wheel for the morning session and ended the morning in 16th place, with a time of 1min 32.406 seconds. In the afternoon it was Sir Lewis’ turn, and he managed to clock up 58 laps, setting a time of 1min 30.025 seconds, enough to claim 5th place.
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It was evident that the Press were now very excited at seeing Mercedes struggling for pace, and not topping the time sheets. But Sir Lewis was not fazed by the test results, pointing out that he was most impressed with the pace of Red Bull, and he would enjoy fighting with them, and other teams this year. This should squash any rumours that suggest he wants easy victories. He said he is very excited to see how good other teams are, and it will make the season more fun.
He also pointed out that he doesn’t waste time worrying because he knows his team will be working flat out to sort any teething problems. He also said it was better to have problems now, so that they can be fixed before the season starts, rather than having them when it has already started.
In the end Sir Lewis reminded us that Mercedes are a multi championship winning team, and with the dedication and professional approach that they have, he has every faith in them. Such loyalty from both of their drivers, will surely spur the team on to deliver the very best package that they can for the first race in Bahrain.
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