Lewis Hamilton 'proud' of Mercedes but insists 2014 rules 'still massive challenge'

Brake problem on Day One at Sakhir cuts day slightly short

By James Galloway in Bahrain.   Last Updated: 19/02/14 8:42pm

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Lewis Hamilton continues to find Mercedes' pre-season progress "really impressive" but has stressed that the Brackley team aren't finding Formula 1's new regulation era completely plain-sailing.

After comfortably completing the most mileage of any team at the opening test of 2014 at Jerez, Mercedes appeared to pick up where they left off as the winter schedule resumed in Bahrain, with Hamilton swiftly completing several long runs - including two 20-lap stints - in the W05.

He went on to finish the opening day with 74 laps on the board in total and the third-fastest time, and amid continuing problems for World Champions Red Bull, Hamilton said Mercedes could be more than content with their preparations for the season.

"It's been really impressive just to see everything coming together and to be able to come to the test and get the mileage, especially when everyone's shown just how difficult it is with these new regulations," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

Lewis Hamilton talks to Sky F1's David Croft

"Just really proud."

However, Hamilton's first of two days at the test wasn't without its problems as what the former World Champion described as a "braking issue" effectively meant his session ended a couple of hours early.

Mercedes have in general run reliably across the opening five days of testing but Hamilton isn't taking their impressive record so far for granted.

"It's still a massive challenge for us," he stressed.

"Whilst it looks like we're doing lots of laps, it's still a massive challenge for us and we're still coming across issues and things that we're finding out about the car. It looks like other people are having issues and some perhaps bigger than others."

He added that proofing the systems on their W05 had still proved the bulk of the team's focus on Day One.

"In the first test we were trying to get mileage on the car and not really focusing on any of the performance, but we will begin to," the 29-year-old added.

"Today was a test again for the reliability. It's good thing; you want issues to come up because you don't want to have them when the season starts, even though it's kind of a downer if something stops you during the day."

Lewis Hamilton on track with an aero sensor attached

He added: "When I say we didn't get as many laps as we'd like, we know the car can go further. But of course when you take a step away and you look at the whole picture we are at the top of the mileage. So I'm really, really happy with that."

Bahrain test, Day One timesheet:
1. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:36.880, 78 laps.
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:37.879, 64 laps.
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:37.908, 74 laps.
4. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1:38.295, 81 laps.
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:40.224, 14 laps.
6. Adrian Sutil, Sauber, 1:40.443, 82 laps.
7. Robin Frijns, Caterham, 1:42.534, 68 laps.
8. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:44.346, 5 laps.
9. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:44.832, 8 laps.
10. Felipe Massa, Williams, No time, 5 laps.
11. Jules Bianchi, Marussia, No time, 3 laps.

Total pre-season laps by each team:
Mercedes - 383.
McLaren - 326.
Ferrari - 315.
Sauber - 245.
Force India - 224.
Williams - 180.
Caterham - 144.
Toro Rosso - 59.
Red Bull - 35.
Marussia - 33.
Lotus - 8.

Total pre-season laps by each engine manufacturer:
Mercedes - 1,113.
Ferrari - 593.
Renault - 246.

The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.

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