Mercedes is working overtime in the days leading up to the Australian Grand Prix, with the marque expecting its toughest battle yet in 2019.
The Silver Arrows finished pre-season testing second-fastest overall, with five-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton three one thousandths of a second shy of Sebastian Vettel…
But the real deficit is reckoned to be more like three tenths, time that the squad has focused on neutralising before flying to Melbourne.
There’s no doubt that the W10 is a step forward from last year’s car, with technical director James Allison saying it makes the W09 (that took 11 wins from 21 races) look “clumsy”.
SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES ALLISON,
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, MERCEDES:
“If you were to take the skin off this car, and look underneath it, you’d find that in every part of the car it’s been just pushed a bit tighter, made a bit stiffer, made a bit lighter, and just bought more performance. All of it adding up to get us something which we truly hope will be a competitive car once we start racing.”
The squad also brought a comprehensive upgrade to the second test, the package expected to be its Melbourne-spec.
In terms of horsepower, it’s evolution not revolution for the M10 power unit with the core principle retained but another aggressive development step taken.
And that’s all before Hamilton is factored in, the 34-year-old in top form… his warrior mentality pushing the team forward.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
5-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"We practice, we prepare and we execute. It's kind of almost as simple as that but it's not as simple to do every time. I love the pressure. Life is not fun without any pressure. That's probably the part of the job that I enjoy the most.”
Consistent, precise and stable, as one of just two teams in F1 to retain their driver line-up into 2019. Hamilton and Bottas are ready for the fight, as Mercedes attempts to go for six-straight titles.