Lewis Hamilton feels the 2018 W09 is a lot faster than its W08 predecessor as he brought to a close pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday.
The reigning World Champion completed ninety-seven laps on Friday morning before handing over the reigns of the car to Valtteri Bottas, and despite the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team not going for outright lap time, the times they were doing during race simulations were on par with Hamilton’s qualifying time from 2017, much to the delight of the Briton.
“It’s been a really positive test,” said Hamilton. “We got through everything, reliability has been great. Everyone has been working their backsides off and doing a tremendous job, I’m really proud of the team. We’re happy with the information that we’ve got.
“Both the car and the track are a lot faster compared to last year’s race here. In my last run during the race simulation today I was doing 1:19s – that’s my qualifying lap time from 2017 every lap.”
Hamilton knows there are still questions to be answered about just where Mercedes are in relation to their rivals at Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, but Mercedes could not have done any more than they did on track across the eight days of testing.
“It’s still difficult to know exactly where we are in comparison to Red Bull and Ferrari and we won’t fully know that until we get to the first race,” said Hamilton.
“But I feel like we’ve got as much information as we could in order to equip us with the best data to go to the season opener. The preparation has been really good in the time that we had.”