Both Mercedes AMG drivers Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas say they are continuing to learn about how to unlock the potential of their W10 after a steady third day in Barcelona.
Neither Mercedes driver were prominent on the timing screens on Wednesday as they both finished in the lower half of the pack.
Valtteri Bottas was at the wheel of the W10 on Wednesday morning, putting in 88 laps over the course of the four hours. His best time of 1:20.693 was enough to put him P11 by the end of the day, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton in P12. The reigning Champion managed a few more laps during the afternoon session by putting in 94 tours of the circuit, with a best time of 1:20.818. Both drivers used the C3 tyre for their best times.
The team are yet to feature highly on any of the daily timing screens, while expected title rivals Ferrari have been consistently close to the front. Mercedes, at least, had the honour of putting in more mileage than Ferrari on Wednesday, despite Sebastian Vettel wrapping up the day early with the Scuderia’s test program completed ahead of schedule.
“We got a lot of mileage in again today, both Valtteri and myself completed a whole race distance, so it’s been a good day for reliability,” said Hamilton after the session.
“We have been digging deep, trying to understand the car, pretty much the same as the beginning of every year. I love that challenge of coming back each year; getting into a new car is like meeting someone new – you don’t know the good and bad and the journey you go on with that car is a real privileged position. This looks like it is going to be the most challenging year of our partnership so I’m super excited.”
Valtteri Bottas agreed with his teammates assessment that the team are continuing to work on how best to unlock the car’s pace and potential: “Similar to the last two days, we did some more aero measurements in the morning. After that we completed a full race distance for the first time in the new car, 66 laps in a row without any issues. We’re learning more and more about the W10 and it again felt better than the day before. There’s still room for improvement, but we’re making progress every day. ”
Mercedes may be yet to show any outright pace in testing, but neither driver has utilised a softer tyre than the C3 yet. This may change on the final day of the first test on Thursday, but performance runs aren’t likely to happen until next week’s second pre-season test at the same venue.