Lewis Hamilton insists better Mercedes tripped up in testing rather than Australia
"I just get in and drive and try to break it," Hamilton quips after delays
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 01/03/14 7:18am
Lewis Hamilton admitted that Friday in Bahrain "wasn't a spectacular day" for 2014 favourites Mercedes but stressed that it was better that unreliability issues struck the W05 in winter testing rather than when the serious business of racing begins in Australia.
For the first time since the testing programme moved to Bahrain last week, a Mercedes driver didn't occupy one of the top-four positions on the end-of-day timesheet on Day Two with Hamilton finishing down in seventh place after a session punctured by an early-morning spin, mid-morning ERS glitches and then finally an afternoon gearbox failure with 90 minutes of running remaining.
Speaking to Sky Sports News after eventually racking up a still-healthy total of 89 laps, Hamilton shrugged off his morning adventures - "I just had a bit of a spin, just testing out the gravel trap!" - and was sanguine about the latest time-consuming glitches to strike the W05.
"Today wasn't a spectacular day so it's not really much to be happy with except we got 89 laps which is a positive thing and we found that issue," Hamilton reported. "Otherwise there wasn't really much done during the day.
"Every time we run we find more and more problems. It's a positive thing obviously because we wouldn't want it to happen when we get to Melbourne," he insisted.
"But it's a lot of work for the guys. They have to strip the car down and check everything and go back to the drawing board to try and see if they can improve on certain areas. But it's the same for everyone."
With Mercedes having comfortably clocked the most amount of mileage among the 11-team field this winter, the suggestion has been in recent days that the Brackley outfit are now in a position to test how far they can push the W05 before it fails.
A blunt Hamilton, though, replied: "Whether or not we're pushing the car as hard as we can, I just get in and drive and try to break it. I've done that so they've got to go and fix it!"
The W05 on the flat-bed recovery truck
Despite their lowly timesheet position on Day Two, Mercedes are widely thought to be the clear pre-season pacesetters heading into the Australian GP in two weeks' time. Hamilton, however, stressed again that they weren't yet focusing on how they matched up to their rivals.
"We really don't know where anyone stands right now and we have enough to concentrate on without looking at how other teams are getting on," he said in Mercedes' later press release.
"The focus is on ourselves and will continue to be right up to the first race."