Last week saw Mercedes clock up the most laps of any team on the grid during the first pre-season test of 2019, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton notching up 610 laps between them. On the first day of Test 2, however, Bottas managed just seven, as his W10 spent the majority of the afternoon shut away in the Mercedes garage with an oil pressure issue.
With Hamilton having enjoyed an stress-free run in the car in the first session of the day – the Briton getting up to speed with the team’s new ‘Melbourne-spec’ aero package – Bottas made just three corners before he was forced to pull to the side of the track and abandon the car. After the W10 had been recovered to the pits and the oil pressure problem diagnosed, Mercedes then opted to spend the afternoon fitting a new power unit, with Bottas managing just six more laps before the close of play.
“Unfortunately, after four days of flawless reliability last week, I spent most of the day waiting as we had an oil pressure issue on my first outlap and had to change the power unit,” said Bottas. “But I'm glad I still got to do a few laps. The team did a really good job to get the car out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package. My running was obviously very limited, but it seems like we’ve made improvements. We need to review everything in more detail tonight and I'm looking forward to continuing our programme tomorrow morning.”
“The car was feeling relatively good,” said Hamilton. “It was an improvement from last week, which is a good step. The tyres are also working a better now that the track temperature is a bit higher. We have to continue to analyse everything and keep pushing.”
The team’s Technical Director James Allison was also focusing on the positives, hailing the ‘useful’ work the team had done on the W10 before it ground to a halt.
“Either side of [the oil pressure] problem, we did do some useful things,” said Allison. “We found that the car behaves a little differently with the new package. We’re looking forward very much to having a trouble-free day tomorrow to get a better feel for what it can do.”
So, the first difficult day for the Silver Arrows in 2019 pre-season testing – but if Mercedes could cling onto any crumb of comfort, it was that chief rivals Ferrari were also having problems, with Charles Leclerc managing just 29 laps during Tuesday’s morning running after his SF90 suffered cooling issues.