The main storyline to come out the first two days of Formula One testing in Jerez, Spain last week was the mechanical woes that kept Mercedes from running anywhere near the desired number of laps. However, it seems that due to those problems, F1 fans are glossing over the way that Mercedes bounced back on days three and four.
Nico Rosberg took the new F1 W04 out on the track for the first time on day one in Spain, but an electrical fire caused the team to have to shut down for the day with only 14 laps. The fastest lap that Rosberg managed prior to the fire was a 1:20.846, which was the 8th fastest time of the day.
Mercedes found a solution to the issue, which was traced back to a wiring loom, and had the car ready to go for Lewis Hamilton on day two. Hamilton would only manage to run one lap more than Rosberg did, though, before a rear brake pressure problem caused him to hit the wall, thus damaging the front wing, nose and left front section of the suspension and aerodynamic parts on the vehicle. The issue was quickly traced back to the hydraulic line connected to the right-rear brake caliper and repaired, but Mercedes would lose yet another day of testing.
At the halfway point of the first pre-season testing session of the 2013 season, Mercedes had only completed 29 laps between their two drivers. The team with the next fewest laps was Marussia with 60, though they had run into mechanical problems of their own on day one.
Despite things going about as poorly as possible through the first two days and a general feeling of panic emanating from their fans, Mercedes kept calm and went to work trying to cure what ailed them. I am convinced that there is nothing on earth as inventive and hardworking when it comes to making big strides in small amounts of time as a Formula 1 engineering team.
Mercedes hit the track on day three like a bat out of hell. Rosberg once again took the cockpit and ran 148 laps, 38 more than any other team. In addition to his marathon lap count, Rosberg managed to run the second fastest time of the day when he clocked a 1:18.766 lap time.
The fourth and final day of testing in Jerez was Hamilton’s opportunity to log an insane number of laps as he made 145 trips around the circuit. Hamilton wound up with the sixth quickest lap time of day four, but that time was only .139 of a second off of Rosberg’s day three best.
Long story short, Mercedes overcame the unexpected events of the first two days of testing by buckling down and fixing their problems in time to run a total of 302 laps between their two drivers during the Jerez test session.
Mercedes is a top notch Formula One team and certainly should not be counted out as a contender in both championship races in 2013. Improvements in both reliability and speed are definitely needed for Mercedes, but they still have two more test sessions to hammer things out before the first practice run of the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.
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