Lewis Hamilton was quick to heap praise upon Mercedes following an enormously productive first Formula 1 test of 2016 in Barcelona this week, calling it the best he has ever seen.
Mercedes laid down more mileage than any other team over four days at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finishing with a total of 1,699 km as both Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg put the new W07 car through its paces.
Hamilton admitted that he could not believe how strong the new car was as Mercedes appear to be the early leaders once again heading into the 2016 season.
“The reliability of the car this week has been just incredible. It feels strong, it feels solid, it just keeps going and going… I’ve never seen anything like it,” Hamilton said.
“The guys and girls at Brackley and Brixworth have done an unbelievable job. After two titles in a row, it would be so easy to lose focus.
“But it’s clear that everyone is even more focused than before and have done an even better job of delivering an overall package with this car.
“In terms of today, the new front wing seems to be a step forward. It’s small increments here and there – but that’s what we’re looking for. There’s not much of a cliff with the tires. They behave very similarly to last year’s in that respect.
“It’s been a gruelling week for the whole team – running between 150 and 190 laps every day. But I’d say it’s probably been the best test we’ve ever had. Certainly the best I’ve ever seen.”
Mercedes opted to split both Wednesday and Thursday between Hamilton and Rosberg, giving one the morning session before handing over to the other for the afternoon.
Rosberg enjoyed the final run of the first test on Thursday, and echoed Hamilton’s thoughts.
“It’s been a great start. Reliability is looking very, very good and the car feels quick,” he said.
“It’s great even to look at. You take a walk around it and there’s some real innovation there. You can really see how far we’ve come as a team these past few years – it’s very impressive.
“I can’t wait to see what it can do when we get to qualifying in Melbourne.”
Pre-season testing resumes in Barcelona on Tuesday.