Lauda says Mercedes has an early advantage

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda believes his outfit has an early advantage over its rivals, but warned things could quickly change.

The team completed the most running during the Jerez test and its power unit was consistently topping the timing screens. Whilst times mean very little, Lauda believes the amount of reliable running they completed is an early indicator of things to come.

"This [test] was purely an engine test, so the teams had the chance to try the new engines," he told Osterreich newspaper.

"We drove three and a half grands prix distances and I am very satisfied," he added. "At the moment it looks as though we have the edge, but that could change very quickly."

The Austrian admitted they had some issues during the test, but these were quickly ironed out.

"The new, hybrid engines are very sensitive and complex and not easy to get to grips with," he explained.

"Technically, it's an enormous challenge and also at Mercedes we had many small problems, but we were able to solve them immediately."