Published: Tue, February 28, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Business as usual for Mercedes and Hamilton

Business as usual for Mercedes and Hamilton

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas took his new team's W08 for its debut test and was close behind the four-time world champion after completing the circuit in 1:23.169, and he also completed the most laps with 79.

The German, who set the best time on Day 1 a year ago, surpassed it with a time of 1:22.791 to top the timesheets again.

Felipe Massa, persuaded to come out of retirement to fill former team-mate Bottas' seat at Williams, was third fastest.

Hamilton said he enjoyed the increased physicality of the cars and that the Mercedes team are the front-runners. "These test days are like training".

Massa said he was particularly impressed that Vettel set his best time on the medium tyre - the Brazilian, and overall pacesetter Hamilton, set their fastest times on the soft. It's faster, more physical... it's a beast! You've got to drive it a bit differently.

"If he was watching more data from Rosberg a year ago, maybe he would have won the championship!" The g forces are definitely higher.

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"There's still a lot more to come from the auto and you have to remember that the track is cold and the tyres are probably not at their optimum temperature".

Magnussen suffered an off-track excursion on his first outing with his new team, wiping the front wing off the VF-17 at Turn 10 with half an hour to go in the morning session.

Fernando Alonso ran very few laps after an oil system issue stopped the McLaren in the morning, before suffering more problems in the afternoon.

The first day of pre-season testing is all about ironing out problems and beginning to understand how the cars work.

He told Sky Sports News HQ: "Firstly, people always want to big you up at the beginning of the season, two, we are World Champions, and three, our auto looks a thousand times better than anyone else's so that [people saying we are favourites] is to be expected". Except for that, the first feeling of the auto is nice.

To be fair to the rule-makers, this year's cars do look more aggressive, even given the preponderance of some of the ghastlier shark fins on display - the Haas is a notable exception. It's a good feeling. "We're doing long runs, and always checking something for each run so it was very valuable for me and for the team".

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