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'Merc-powered teams are strongest'

Monday 24-February-2014 11:44

With just one pre-season test remaining, Paddy Lowe believes the Mercedes-powered teams have emerged as the ones to beat.

While Red Bull and Renault continued to battle with reliability never mind performance, the Mercedes teams ran away with it in Bahrain.

Topping the timesheets on all four days, it was the works team that eventually claimed the top two spots overall.

Nico Rosberg set the pace with his 1:33.283 on the final day while Lewis Hamilton's P1 time from the previous day was second quickest for the week.

Added to that, the McLarens were next in line on the overall timesheets ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Mercedes-powered Force India.

Lowe told Sky Sports F1: "The strongest teams out there are the Mercedes-powered teams.

"The Ferrari is also looking strong, so those are the people we are watching and trying to measure against.

"In this business, even after P1 and P2 on a Friday you can't predict what the grid will look like, and so there are a lot of uncertainties.

"But we definitely feel we are quick and in contention to do very well in Melbourne if we can keep pressing further updates to the car and making sure it is reliable."

Working on the W05's reliability, Mercedes covered 315 laps of the Sakhir circuit, eight less than Williams who topped that log.

However, the Mercedes tech chief is not getting carried away, conceding that there is still work for Mercedes to do.

"In Formula 1, you have to enjoy the good days when things go well," he added.

"We have had a good week, it's gone better than we expected, and the drivers are very happy with the performance of the car and we have to keep building on that."

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