Mercedes F1 made good progress understanding W15 but there’s “a lot more lap time to find,” say drivers

Lewis Hamilton during the 2024 Bahrain Test, Day 3. Photo credit: Sebastian Kawka
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The Mercedes squad finished pre-season testing making “good progress” understanding their new W15, but both drivers agree there’s room for improvements.

The Silver Arrows completed 361 laps around the Bahrain International Circuit since Wednesday – 172 for Lewis Hamilton and 189 for teammate George Russell, who considered the team had “a solid three days here in Bahrain,” saying they “managed to get through all of our planned programme, despite the stoppages.

“The car has been handling well and correlates to the feeling we had on the simulator ahead of coming here. We’ve got a very good base to build from.

“We’re aware that there’s a lot more lap time to find,” he clarified. “We knew that would be the case ahead of the test, and Red Bull are looking very strong once again. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we’re in a much better place than we were 12 months ago.

“We now need to focus on firstly getting the most out of the package we have and secondly, adding more downforce and trying to close that gap.”

Hamilton echoed Russell’s comment. “We know we’ve got work to do and we’re not yet where we want to be,” he said.

“We’ve got a great platform to build on. We’ll go away and work hard over the next couple of days to go through all the data from the test. I’m really excited for the start of the season next week and we’ll be heading into it in good shape.”

Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, said that “the feedback from the drivers is very different and more positive, which is encouraging.”

He added that the team worked on fixing many of the W14’s flaws over the winter, and that they “seem to have put a number of those problems” behind them.

The big unknown

Shovlin said that it’s hard for them to predict the pecking order as “all teams are quite effective at hiding their pace when they want to,” so Mercedes will focus on putting together “the best package to take into the race weekend” at Bahrain next week.