The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team showed the first signs of a chink in the armor of the W07 on the final day of winter testing on Friday. Shortly before the lunch break, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton stopped out on track with a mechanical failure in the transmission.
Despite the problem, Hamilton managed to complete 69 laps and set the fifth fastest time of the day with a 1m 24.133s before handing the car over to his team mate Nico Rosberg. Speaking following the session, Hamilton commented by saying:
It’s been an amazing two weeks for the team. The guys have done an amazing job to get the car to where it is especially given the fact we’ve done more mileage in pre-season than we’ve ever done before. I’m kind of glad I broke the car at the end of my final run today because it’s better to have found something now than in Melbourne! I’m looking forward to putting the car through its paces at the first race and will be preparing myself mentally over the next few weeks. The car feels good and I’m really excited to go racing in 2016.
This morning failure has been the only blotch on an otherwise incredible two week winter testing programme for the Brackley based outfit who have easily racked up the most mileage of any of their rivals which bodes well for the Silver Arrows heading to the season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne’s Albert Park in two weeks time.
While Hamilton had the small issue this morning, Nico Rosberg by contrast was absolutely delighted with how his afternoon went. The German completed 70 laps with a fastest time of 1m 26.140s. Speaking following his time in the car he stated:
This afternoon was probably the best the car has felt for me all the way through winter testing, so that was a really positive way to end the week. We have done so many miles in the past two weeks, so we can feel well prepared for Melbourne, and the team has done an incredible job to build such a reliable car. Of course, we haven’t seen the full picture yet in terms of performance, and everybody will be excited to find that out in Australia. Before then, I will be in the factory working on more details in the simulator next week. But I feel ready to go for 2016!
Over the course of the last two weeks the W07 has covered an incredible 1,294 laps of the Circuit Du Catalunya which is the equivalent of 19 Grand Prix distances, two shy of completing a entire season which is remarkable.