Mercedes AMG F1 concluded the third and final pre-season test of 2014 at the Bahrain International Circuit today, with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of the F1 W05. Lewis' best time of 1:33.278 from 70 laps put him top of the time sheets.
Running was delayed during the morning after a gearbox problem for the F1 W05. Lewis emerged for his first run at 12:40, completing five laps before the lunch break. A further 65 laps followed in the afternoon as part of a programme including setup evaluation and qualifying simulation
With the pre-season programme now complete, the team returns to Brackley to conduct final preparations ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix weekend, which begins with Free Practice on Friday 14 March.
Lewis Hamilton: "This has definitely been the most challenging winter I've experienced and the car is still very much a work in progress, but we've learnt a lot over the course of these last few weeks and overall it's been a good winter of testing for us. There's been an incredible amount of work put in by the team back at the two factories and on track. I have to say a special thanks to the crew here today who had a tough task in front of them but never lost their cool. It was a tough start to the day but they managed to get the car turned around for me to complete some good laps in the afternoon, which was a fantastic effort. There's so much to learn with these new cars; it's just mind-blowing and I don't think anybody can be fully ready for the challenge of this season. But I feel as ready as I can be and I'm looking forward to seeing where we are in Melbourne."
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (technical): "It was another difficult start to the day having discovered a problem with the gearbox at around 04:00 this morning which then cascaded into a number of other faults and meant we didn't get out on track until 12:40. Great credit to the crew who I know must have been tired after an intense month-long testing programme, but still went the extra mile to get the car turned around before lunch. In the afternoon there were a lot of red flags which further hindered our progress but, with the session extended slightly, Lewis managed to get in some useful runs which brought our mileage total above any other team during this winter programme. It seems far longer than a month ago that we first rolled the car out on a cold, wet filming day at Silverstone for some very delicate running. It's been a long road to get to the stage we're at today, running reasonably reliably and showing potential in terms of pace, so all credit once again to everyone involved. There's still a lot to do before we get to Melbourne but we look forward to the challenge."
Toto Wolff, Executive Director (business): "We come to the end of our winter programme with plenty to think about heading to Melbourne. The first race is now less than two weeks away and it will inevitably be a reality check for every team on the grid. We have experienced ups and downs during these pre-season tests, with two challenging days in particular right at the end. The problems we have faced during the last 48 hours would have had a significant impact on a race weekend and reliability is still the biggest obstacle we have to overcome. With that in mind, we will be taking nothing for granted in our preparations for the first race and beyond. However, before we round off winter testing, I must pay a big compliment to our teams at Brackley and Brixworth; they have delivered a very promising platform to work from this year. Now we want to step things up to the next level to be successful this season. "