Lewis Hamilton ended fastest on the final day of the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and revealed the W09 Hybrid feels like the ‘big sister’ of 2017’s W08.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver completed sixty-nine laps on Thursday and set a best time of 1:19.333s to lead the way, finishing 0.521 seconds clear of Stoffel Vandoorne, but the reigning World Champion was just happy to finally get some significant running in after three disrupted days.
“Today has been positive, I’m so happy that I could get in the car and I’m really excited that I could get some running in,” said Hamilton. “It’s been the first time today that I’ve really been out to learn a lot more about the car and its characteristics.
“I got to see what she’s like and stretch her legs a little bit. Driving a new car is like trying to crack a new code: you have to figure out which different techniques you need to get the most out of it. But the W09 feels like last year’s big sister.”
Hamilton said the 2018 Pirelli tyres seem to work well once they are up to their proper working temperatures, something that drivers have been struggling to manage this week due to the extremely cold conditions they have faced.
“Out on track, the Pirelli tyres have been very hard to get working in these unusually cold conditions but they feel pretty good once they are up to temperature,” said Hamilton.
“Of course we’ve got things to learn and things to improve on balance-wise but overall my feeling is positive. I’m really looking forward to next week and to getting back in and learning more.”