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Hamilton says elements of Mercedes’ preparation ‘the best I’ve ever seen’ after 2024 testing

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes attends the Drivers

Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise on the Mercedes workforce for their efforts over the winter and at last week’s pre-season test in Bahrain, which he described as “massively encouraging” for the team.

Once F1’s dominant force, Mercedes enter 2024 off the back of two relatively challenging campaigns, having claimed just one victory in that period and trailed pace-setters Red Bull by a significant margin.

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However, for the third year of the sport’s current ground effect era, both Hamilton and team mate George Russell believe Mercedes have built a “nicer” car to drive following their initial running in the W15.

Offering more thoughts, Hamilton said: “Overall, it’s been a really good test. I’m really proud of everyone trackside and those back at the factory. Every single woman and man has been working tirelessly, both at Brackley, Brixworth, and here in Bahrain.

“It’s massively encouraging and great to see everyone working so well together. The focus, determination, and communication is the best I’ve ever seen.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG

Hamilton has been encouraged by his early running in the new Mercedes challenger

“We know we’ve got work to do and we’re not yet where we want to be. We knew that would be the case coming into the test though. We’ve got a great platform to build on.

“We’ll go away and work hard over the next couple of days to go through all the data from the test. I’m really excited for the start of the season next week and we’ll be heading into it in good shape.”

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Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director at Mercedes, shared a similar assessment to Hamilton as he broke down the test and what the team learned.

“We’ve had three useful days here in Bahrain and managed to make good progress understanding the W15,” he commented. “Compared to last year’s car, the feedback from the drivers is very different and more positive, which is encouraging.

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“The team has worked hard to iron out the handling flaws that were integral to the W14, and it’s great that we seem to have put a number of those problems behind us.

“Over the course of the test we’ve made good steps on our understanding of the car. The task of the next few days is to pick through the results and put together the best package to take into the race weekend.”

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As for where Mercedes might stand in the pecking order, Shovlin added: “It’s never easy to make predictions on pace from testing, as all teams are quite effective at hiding their pace when they want to. It’s clear that we are in a much better position than 12 months ago though.

“We’ve got a busy few days ahead now making our final preparations for the season-opener, and we’re already looking forward to the race weekend and the season ahead.”

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