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First day of testing a “poor start to the season,” Mercedes admits

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Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ track-side operations director, said the team had a “poor start to the season” on the first day of pre-season testing.

Valtteri Bottas managed to put in six laps in the morning due to a gearbox problem, with Lewis Hamilton doing 42 laps in the afternoon session (which the team slightly delayed due to a sandstorm).

“It’s been a poor start to the season from us,” said Shovlin. “We lost more or less the whole morning with Valtteri with a gearbox problem and our workload over lunch meant we were late joining the afternoon session with Lewis.

“Once we got running it was clear we didn’t have the car in the right balance window.

“While we made some progress during the day, we’re not happy with how the car is performing and it’s pretty clear we have some work to do.

“We’re quite a way behind on our test program and need to find a bit of balance and speed but we have two days left and every opportunity to recover the situation,” he concluded.

Lewis Hamilton said that while it is not easy to take, it’s the same for everyone and that he hopes his experience will help him get the best out of it.

“I remember in 2007 during testing I had 10 days in the car and now it’s getting less and less,” said Hamilton. “We only have a day and a half in the car before the first race, with different tires and different aero modifications.

“So it’s not easy but it’s the same for everyone. I’d like to think my nine years’ experience with this team will help me get the best out of it.”

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