F1 2014: Hamilton drives for Mercedes on final day of Jerez test in Spain

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes garage [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes garage [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Archant

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton took the wheel for Mercedes on the final afternoon of the opening pre-season test in Spain.

The new Mercedes F1 W05 on track [Daimler - Mercedes-Benz]

The new Mercedes F1 W05 on track [Daimler - Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Archant

After Mercedes AMG Petronas colleague Nico Rosberg completed 91 laps in the F1 W05 this morning, the 29-year-old Hertfordshire-born racer returned to the Jerez track for another spin this afternoon.

He completed 41 laps of the Circuito de Jerez as Mercedes successfully concluded the first winter test.

Hamilton finished fifth on the day four timesheets, with a best lap time of 1m 30.822s on medium tyres.

The 2008 F1 world champion said: “I was a little bit down on mileage this week, so it was good to get some more time in the car this afternoon as every little helps at this stage.

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“It’s been a fantastic week for the team. We’ve put a lot of laps on the car, which is a huge accomplishment.

“It’s a bit early to say this definitely, but right now the car feels pretty good.

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“Like every year we’ve got a lot of work to do; it’s a new challenge this season and the workload is maybe a bit higher than in previous years, but it’s a new experience for everyone and I’m enjoying it.”

The Mercedes team completed good mileage today (Friday), with both drivers making use of both intermediate and dry tyres during the day’s running to cope with the damp, changing track conditions.

Rosberg’s best time of 1m 36.951s on intermediates saw him end the day in eighth position on the timesheets.

In total, the F1 W05 completed 584.496km of running over the course of the day.

Williams newcomer Felipe Massa went fastest on day four, ahead of Ferrari star Fernando Alonso, with Force India driver Daniel Juncadella and McLaren new boy Kevin Magnussen also faster than Hamilton.

Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe was satisfied with today’s running in Spain.

He said: “Today’s programme was designed around completing race simulation work. In damp conditions this morning, Nico conducted a baseline run before running a 74-lap race simulation on intermediate tyres, including two pit-stops. This was completed faultlessly before we stopped for lunch.

“At that point, in view of the large discrepancy between our drivers’ mileage this week, we decided to put Lewis in the car for the afternoon.

“Conditions were very tricky on a damp track, spitting with rain and in cold temperatures. That meant we struggled to find grip on the intermediate tyres and the slicks.

“Nevertheless, he completed 41 laps to bring our total for the day to 132 laps. At the end, he successfully completed some race starts.”

Mercedes star Rosberg emerged for his first run on the stroke of 9am local time, completing 91 laps of wet running before lunch.

With the German F1 star having completed a race distance, Hamilton drove in the afternoon to balance driver mileage for the week.

Rosberg said: “It’s come as a bit of a surprise that we were able to do so many laps here today and throughout the whole week.

“I was able to do a full race simulation on only the fourth day of winter testing, so we can be very happy about that.

“We decided that I should stop driving at lunch time and hand over to Lewis as I had collected a lot more mileage than him at the time, which is a normal team decision.”

Tewin F1 hero Hamilton took to the track shortly before 3pm, adding 41 laps to the team’s total as the test reached its conclusion.

Mercedes completed a total of 1,368km over the four-day test at the Circuito de Jerez.

The team now heads back to the UK to prepare for the second pre-season test, to be held in just over two weeks’ time at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Hamilton said: “This week has just been about getting the mileage on the car and we’ve managed to do that quite successfully, which is really encouraging as reliability is the biggest positive we could hope to take away from here.

“So far so good; now we just have to continue working hard and see what happens in Bahrain.”

Mercedes teammate Rosberg added: “It’s been a decent start, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us in the next six weeks because it’s such a big mission to get reliability with these new cars.

“Performance-wise we don’t know where we are because you can’t really compare to the other cars, but that’s not the focus right now.

“We’ve learned a lot this week so it’s an encouraging start to the year.”

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