Bottas puts Mercedes back in charge on final day of testing

Ross Houston
February 28, 2020

Lewis Hamilton's normally reliable Mercedes suffered a rare failure to hamper the six-time champion's build-up to the new Formula One season.

The season-opening Australian GP is on March 15.

But rivals Ferrari and Red Bull both showed pace on the final day, and Racing Point have impressed as well. On Friday he put in 90 error-free laps before handing it over to Bottas.

And it appeared as if Verstappen could have gone faster still when he was on a quicker lap at the end of the day, but slowed down in the final part of the circuit. And on Thursday, Binotto said this about the two race runs attempted by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel yesterday (Hamilton stopped after 14 laps with an engine problem; Vettel completed his): "If you look at the race-simulation pace, it's true that today Hamilton had an issue, but his initial stint, the speed he got was impressive".

Day 5 sees Vettel in the auto for the full day as he completes his last test programme in the vehicle before the opening race in Melbourne, Australia, while Leclerc will do the same on Friday.

Hamilton said he was satisfied with his preparations for the season, but was concerned about the reliability problems with engines Mercedes had suffered. "It's not been flawless and we've found that we've got plenty of problems that we are trying to iron out".

"Only the teams themselves know the true form they have".

"I said I was not optimistic as I was a year ago, and I think I can confirm it", Binotto said. I don't know where everybody else is. "We just need to make the most of it now".

"I think we are anticipating in the past days that we are not sufficiently fast", Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto told Sky F1. "There will be time to address development where we are weak". The Finn also ends the week with the best lap over in testing, his milestone 1m15.732s withstanding the test of time in Week 2.

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