Mercedes technical director James Allison says the world championship team enjoyed a productive opening day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, highlighting both the W11’s performance and reliability.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas led the field with a combined tally of 173 trouble-free laps during which both drivers praised the handling of their 2020 Silver Arrow.

“That was a very positive start to our winter testing campaign, with both drivers able to get a very decent amount of work done through the day,” said Allison.

“We were able to tick several of the procedural items off our list that we need to get done before Melbourne and also run through some of the main set-up items on suspension settings today.

“We’re happy that alongside the good reliability we’ve shown today, both drivers have reported the car to have sweet handling characteristics and are looking forward to leaning on it a bit harder over the next several days of testing.”

©Mercedes

Bottas kicked off the day for Mercedes and initiated the team’s aero programme.

“I’m very impressed that we could start at 9am, going straight out and doing some longer runs without any issues and really execute our plan for the morning perfectly,”said the Finn

“We could get everything done which is just impressive considering how much work goes into our cars.

In the morning when it was still relatively cold, we focused mostly on aero tests with rakes on the car. Later on we did some work on set-up changes – bigger changes than we would normally do on a race weekend when it’s more about fine-tuning.

“I had a very good feeling, the car feels good and fast, but I’m sure we can make it a lot faster. It’s been a really nice starting point, but it’s early days, so it doesn’t mean a whole lot.”

Hamilton echoed his teammate’s positive feedback but the six-time world champion remained focus on the work ahead.

“It’s been a good day and a really good start for all of us, considering we had a long break,” explained the Briton.

“So to come back and clock in over 170 laps just shows how hard everyone has been working over the winter. We will just take it one step at a time, getting good feedback from the car.

“We have a lot of data to download and analyse and we’ve got to keep pushing on.”

Hamilton also paid tribuite to the outstanding work conducted over the winter by the Mercedes crews.

“A huge thank you to everyone back in Brackley and Brixworth for the incredible effort that’s gone in over the winter to make sure we come here and have a car that’s reliable to start with so we can get this mileage done,” he added.

“I hope everyone back at the factory is happy with how the day went and we’re just going to keep churning out as many miles as possible.”

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