After losing time to an electrical failure on day one and a hydraulic failure on day two of the first pre-season test in Jerez, Mercedes were back on track for day three. Nico Rosberg racked up a massive total of 148 laps, easily topping the distance charts for the day, in the W04 as the team continued to evaluate the new car.
148 laps of the Jerez circuit is a long, long way to drive in a Formula One car. Each lap is 4.428km long, which means Rosberg covered a little over 655km in a single day – over two full race distances. Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber was next on 110 laps, some way behind Rosberg.
Although Mercedes put a lot of mileage on the new car, which is essential at this stage of testing, their work is only just beginning. With only 12 days of pre-season testing in total, and two mostly lost to reliability issues, the team has to effectively squash its testing schedule into 10 days – not ideal for a team that wants to win races this season.
But Mercedes are clearly going about recovering from their early setbacks as well as they possibly can. After his running ended prematurely on day two, new Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said, “If we can get 110 to 120 laps per day then that would be a good comeback.” The team has easily beaten that aim, and will no doubt look to do so again when testing resumes on day four.
During his first day of testing as a Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton crashed the team’s new W04 in Jerez, Spain this morning after a failure of a hydraulic line to the right-rear brake caliper caused a loss of rear brake pressure. Hamilton escaped unhurt from the crash, but the car suffered some damage to the front wing and front suspension. Mercedes sat out the rest of the day’s testing in order to make the necessary repairs, but will be back in action tomorrow morning with Nico Rosberg in the cockpit.
It’s only the second day of pre-season testing, but Mercedes have now had problems on both days that have resulted in limited running. Yesterday saw the car stop on track due to an electrical failure after only three runs in the morning, and today’s accident happened after only 15 laps. The lack of running will be frustrating for all at Mercedes. After all, testing is all about spending time on the track to learn about the car and troubleshoot issues.
On the plus side for Mercedes, it is still early in the testing schedule, which means there is time to iron out issues like those yesterday and today that negatively impact the reliability of the car.
Hamilton will be back in the car for the final day of the Jerez test on Friday.
Lewis Hamilton has driven the new Mercedes W04 for the first time in Jerez today. Watch the video here: