The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team deviated from their original Wednesday test plan as both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton shared the driving duties in the W07.

The Brackley based outfit have really hit the ground running in winter testing so far and it was decided to run both drivers today. Nico Rosberg was first to take to the track exiting the garage just after 9AM local time. The German completed 74 laps before the lunch break and ended his time in the car in 5th place overall with a fastest time of 1m 26.084s.

Speaking following his time in the car, Rosberg commented by saying:

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. I also heard about the new qualifying format for 2017 today. I hope it stays simple and clear for the fans, so we’ll see 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.

Rosberg will be back in action on Thursday for the final day of the test as Mercedes once again split the running between their two drivers.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton took over the W07 just after lunch completing 88 laps and ending the day in eighth place overall with a fastest time of 1m 26.421s.

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Speaking about his afternoon in the car, Hamilton commented by saying:

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 ten years in F1, 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.

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