Formula 1
Formula 1
19 Sep
-
22 Sep
Event finished
26 Sep
-
29 Sep
Event finished
10 Oct
-
13 Oct
Event finished
24 Oct
-
27 Oct
Event finished
01 Nov
-
03 Nov
Event finished

Hamilton: Bahrain test crucial for Mercedes F1 fightback

shares
comments
Hamilton: Bahrain test crucial for Mercedes F1 fightback
By:
Apr 18, 2017, 5:59 AM

Lewis Hamilton thinks the Formula 1 test that got underway today in Bahrain will be crucial in helping his Mercedes team answer the big "question mark" it has over how to make better use of 2017 tyres.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG, second place, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, race winner, on the podium
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG, second place
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08

Rivals Ferrari appear better able to extract life out of the new rubber this year, and its SF70H is more comfortable on the softest compounds and when temperatures rise.

Those factors have played a part in strategy decisions in the opening races – and Mercedes knows especially that getting more on top of tyre management is something that needs addressing.

Speaking ahead of today's first day of testing, Hamilton said: "We've got some work to do in the test - trying to strengthen the car, and strengthen our knowledge of the tyres, so we can be in a better position for the next race."

Hamilton will test in Bahrain today, with teammate Valtteri Bottas taking over on Wednesday.

While Mercedes does hold an advantage on single-lap pace – having taken pole position at every race so far this year – Ferrari's better long-run form means race days are much closer.

Hamilton has no doubts about the potential there is in the W08, and moving forward will be about unlocking that speed over more of a race.

"The car is obviously good," he said. "It's just how we use our tyres on race day, particularly when it gets a bit warmer.

"But even [in Bahrain] it wasn't really that, it was quite cool. So that is definitely a big question mark for us."

As well as understanding the tyres, the form of the Mercedes appears to shift around depending on how much fuel is in the car.

"In the beginning, the car's a big, heavy lump... and, yeah, the grip just does not feel good at all, it's sliding around.

"Then the car gets lighter and lighter, gets more and more comfortable and, when you put the fresher tyres on in the end, as I did, you got like new boots and the tyre is more nimble like qualifying again, you know. There's like a point at which it goes one way or the other."

Ferrari is conducting the first of Pirelli's 2018 tyre tests with Vettel on Tuesday, before he reverts to a normal test programme with the team on Wednesday.

* The start of the Bahrain test was delayed for 10-minutes because containers of equipment were sticking out too far in the pitlane and posed a potential danger. They had to be moved before track action could get underway.

Test line-up

Team Tuesday Wednesday
 Ferrari  Antonio Giovinazzi/ Sebastian Vettel  Sebastian Vettel
 Mercedes  Lewis Hamilton  Valtteri Bottas
 Red Bull  Daniel Ricciardo  Pierre Gasly
 Force India

 Sergio Perez

 Esteban Ocon

 Alfonso Celis
 Williams

 Lance Stroll

 Felipe Massa

 Gary Paffett
 Toro Rosso  Sean Gelael

 Carlos Sainz

 Daniil Kvyat

 Haas  Romain Grosjean  Kevin Magnussen
 Renault  Nico Hulkenberg  Sergey Sirotkin
 Sauber  Marcus Ericsson  Pascal Wehrlein
 McLaren  Oliver Turvey  Stoffel Vandoorne

 

Next article
Chase Carey responds to Bernie Ecclestone jibe about "overcharging" F1 promoters

Previous article

Chase Carey responds to Bernie Ecclestone jibe about "overcharging" F1 promoters

Next article

Brembo brake update a big improvement – Grosjean

Brembo brake update a big improvement – Grosjean
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Teams Mercedes Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble