Lewis Hamilton ecstatic after ‘incredible week of testing’ for Mercedes

Hamilton & Rosberg

Mercedes again dominated Formula One testing on Thursday, completing another 185 data-collecting laps, though Ferrari had the fastest car for the third time in four days.

Lewis Hamilton, who drove for 99 of them, with Nico Rosberg completing the other 86 in the afternoon, was ecstatic when he had finished.

“It’s been an incredible week of testing for us because we’ve done more mileage than we ever had before,” Hamilton said as the teams packed their bags, though they will return for another four days on Tuesday.

The fastest driver on the final day was Kimi Raikkonen, who was almost a second quicker than Daniil Kvyat. The busiest driver was Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, who completed 153 laps and also set the fourth fastest time.

The unhappiest driver was Fernando Alonso, who failed to set an official time and did just three laps in his McLaren after suffering a “water leak”.

The happiest was undoubtedly Hamilton, as Mercedes completed 229 more laps than they did last year. Hamilton drove 342 laps in the week, almost 1,000 miles. He said: “Before we came here the team were talking about doing 800km [497 miles] a day and I was thinking they are crazy. I’ve never done that in the past.

“Usually you have breakdowns with the car. Not just for us, but for lots of people, there’s been no red flags. There’s a lot more reliability which I guess you would expect with the third year of this type of power unit.”

Hamilton is the runaway favourite to win his third title in a row, and his fourth altogether this year; the season begins in Melbourne on 20 March. He added: “It’s a really exciting time for us. I’ve never had a week like this when the car has just kept going on and on.

“It’s been physically challenging, but I’m so proud of my guys. After two really successful years it’s really easy to drop the ball and be chilled but everyone has worked even harder than before – which we thought was impossible.”

Hamilton did not appear to think any more of next season’s new Driver of the Day award than he had of the new qualification rules, which he dismissed the previous day. He said: “Driver of the Day doesn’t sound good to me. It sounds like a pointless exercise and I don’t really have positive things to say about it.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Paul Weaver in Barcelona, for The Guardian on Thursday 25th February 2016 20.04 Europe/London

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