Lewis Hamilton: “This is going to be a seriously challenging year…”

Lewis Hamilton completed his Jerez running on Thursday sounding very satisfied with progress at Mercedes as the W05 continued to log laps.

Hamilton also made some interesting observations on what it’s like to drive the current cars.

“The tyres are a little bit better, more durable,” said Hamilton. “You can do perhaps maybe 30 laps, and you have a lot less wear on them. They still overheat like any other tyre, so you still have that kind of issue. With the car we’ve lost obviously the rear lower element of the rear wing, we don’t have the blown diffuser any more, so that’s a huge amount of downforce that we lose.

“So when we get on power the rear is much, much weaker than what we experienced in the last couple of years. So you have a lot more wheelspin, generally. Otherwise it’s an F1 car still. You have a lot of power, and when you’ve got new tyres the power is pretty impressive.

“Regarding the torque he said: “In the past we’ve used first and second gear through corners, now we’re using fourth and fifth.”

Hamilton said he was impressed by the job done by Mercedes this week.

“We were the first ones out on the first day, obviously I had the issues with the front wing, but we fixed that and we’re working on that for the future. But watching the other teams who haven’t been out hardly at all, for example Red Bull – you would imagine Red Bull would be doing easily as many laps as us with their track record, but obviously they’ve had some issues as well. It shows you how technical it is and how difficult it is for every team, and how challenging it is.

“This is going to be a seriously challenging year for every team. Everything is different – the braking is different, we have this new braking system, which is brake-by-wire, which at the moment is not the best thing to use. That makes it trickier, and we’re trying to fine tune that. We have new dashboards on our steering wheels, and we’re trying to fine tune those.

“You’ve got a turbo, you’ve got KERS. All these new things are so complex, far, far beyond what we’ve had before. As a driver we have more multifunction switches on the steering wheel than we’ve ever had before, so it’s a big challenge.”

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