Lewis Hamilton upbeat after long-run tyre work
Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes has made gains with its tyre performance across long runs following the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain.
Mercedes has lagged behind Ferrari in tyre wear across the opening phase of the season, with Hamilton missing out on victory to Sebastian Vettel in Australia after struggling on the Super Soft tyres.
Vettel triumphed again in Bahrain, with pole sitter Valtteri Bottas admitting to being rear-limited, suffering from oversteer, as he dropped to third position, behind Hamilton.
Hamilton clocked the quickest lap at Sakhir on Tuesday, but was more encouraged by the focus on long-run tyre performance of the W08.
“Today was tricky with it being so hot and very gusty but we still managed to get through plenty of work,” said Hamilton, having completed 97 laps.
“Our focus was on advancing our understanding of the tyres and also the rear of the car so that we can improve our long runs – particularly during the race and on the Super Soft compound.
“We came here with a specific goal, so it was positive to get on top of that with the team.”
Hamilton is nonetheless optimistic that tyre wear will be less of a factor at the next round of the season in Russia.
“Sochi is a smoother track and less abrasive on the tyres, so they can go quite a long way,” he commented.
“Hopefully we can rely on the pace of our car there rather than our use of the tyres.”
Bottas will pilot the W08 during Wednesday’s second day of running at Sakhir.