Hamilton applauds Mercedes mileage but Bottas does see some 'weaknesses'

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Lewis Hamilton was full of praise for the work done by Mercedes after leading the first day of Formula 1 testing.

The reigning world champion got his bid for a seventh crown off to an impressive start by setting the benchmark at a 1m16.976s, that's 1.2s faster than Sebastian Vettel managed on Day 1 last year.

But while the pace was good, it was the distance covered that most impressed the Briton.

“It’s been a good day and a really good start for all of us, considering we had a long break,” Hamilton said. “So to come back and clock in over 170 laps just shows how hard everyone has been working over the winter.

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“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.

“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.

“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.”

Teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second fastest after being the first man to step into the Mercedes W11 on Wednesday.

“It was a good morning, we’ve done everything we planned,” he stated.

“There were no issues and the car feels good. Obviously it can still be better but a really nice starting point.”

After all the positives though, the Finn does admit the new Silver Arrow is far from perfect

"For sure it has weaknesses and this is a good track for testing because there’s all types of corners, high-speed corners, medium corners and a quite twisty last sector," he explained.

“Balance-wise, particularity in the speed range, we have some things to work on but that’s why we are here.

"Nowadays the simulation is so important and that’s why everything normally works so well straight out from the box,” Bottas added.

"It’s so important and, to be honest, when we started with this car it was not that far away that we expected.

“Sometimes there is a bit of a difference from theory and real-life but it’s getting closer.”