Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has plenty of problems to address ahead of the Australian Grand Prix despite setting the pace in pre-season testing.
Valtteri Bottas was quickest in both tests at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with his 1m15.732s from the first test standing as the fastest overall. Race pace also looked strong, but there were reliability concerns including a stoppage for Hamilton on Thursday, and the defending champion admitted the two tests have uncovered issues that Mercedes has to work on.
“I think we’ve had a good winter test,” Hamilton said. “It’s not been perfect, and we’ve found that we’ve got plenty of problems that we are trying to iron out. I don’t know how long it will take to iron out, but that’s never a bad thing to discover them through testing.
“But otherwise I think our performance has been good in the sense of the amount of laps we’ve got, the mileage, and the actual processes and the things we’ve discovered along the way. I have no idea where we stand compared to others, the team will probably have a better idea than that.
“I don’t know where everybody else is, I think I understand the car well so I’m comfortable and confident in terms of getting in the car for Melbourne and knowing that I’ll be able to attack and extract the most from it but whether that’s going to be enough to be ahead of others, we’ll find out.”
Despite ending the six days of testing with the highest mileage, Mercedes suffered power unit issues on both its own car and on the Williams that Hamilton admitted is a worry ahead of the first race.
“It’s a concern, yeah for sure,” he said. “Normally in this pre-season testing we’re much more confident in the reliability, so it’s not been perfect for us. I think we’re on our second engine already. It’s definitely not an easy or relaxed scenario for us, but I have every confidence in the guys back in the factory that they will analyze and do the best they can in these next two weeks to make sure we start off on the right foot.”