Hamilton: The competition looks very strong

Five-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes’ competition looks “very strong” following the first week of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton finished fourth and fifth respectively on the final day of the first test on Thursday.

The five-time reigning constructors’ champions spent most of the week focusing on long runs, clocking over 600 laps across the four days.

“The reliability has been really solid, which is a great showing of all the hard work that everyone in the factory has done,” Hamilton said. “In general, the car was feeling better today and is coming together.”

Hamilton is already looking forward to opening his title defence at the upcoming Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 in Melbourne on 14-17 March.

“We have to keep on pushing,” Hamilton said. “Keep on digging deep, analysing the data and the changes that we are making. The competition looks very strong.”

Meanwhile, Bottas has welcomed the W10 package making prominent use of the new Mercedes M10 EQ Power+ power unit.

“The first week of testing was really good for us in terms of reliability,” Bottas said. “We got a lot of mileage in with the new car, and didn’t experience any major issues.

“We’ve been making progress throughout the entire week, [and] the car’s felt better every single day.”

Bottas’ final day consisted of much smaller runs only, completing 57 laps during his afternoon session.

“Today we did some shorter runs, seeing how the W10 works when you try to extract a little bit more performance out of it,” Bottas said. “We’re now looking forward to next week, we’re all hungry to improve even more in the second test when we will hopefully make even more progress.”