Hamilton P1 but has ‘no idea’ of real order

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton exits the Mercedes motorhome. Spain, February 2022.

Lewis Hamilton walks down the stairs to exit the Mercedes motorhome. Spain, February 2022.

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the Barcelona shakedown, but where Mercedes are compared to the others he says is unknown.

After the second day of running in Barcelona, Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell had declared that McLaren and Ferrari were the teams to beat going into the new season, but Hamilton put the Silver Arrows back on top with a late surge on the final day.

Armed with the C5 tyres, Hamilton set a 1:19.138 to comfortably claim the fastest lap of the three-day test, while Russell finished P2, going just under a tenth slower than Hamilton’s time with his own C5 run on the morning of day three.

So it was the familiar sight of Mercedes one and two, but Hamilton is not letting that lead to any speculation over Mercedes’ pace in relation to the other nine teams.

Asked if he had any read on Mercedes’ ranking in the early 2022 pecking order, Hamilton replied: “You never do on the first week, never do.

“We have no idea where everyone is.”

Lewis Hamilton on the soft tyre. Spain, February 2022.
Lewis Hamilton running the soft tyre on his Mercedes W13. Spain, February 2022.

Hamilton ended Friday afternoon with 94 laps completed, a solid stint as he spoke of overcoming “obstacles” having fallen behind on the opening two days.

He also confirmed that the driving style for these new-look cars and the 18-inch Pirelli tyres are both a work in progress.

“It’s been an interesting few days, not been the easiest or the most smooth running, definitely had some obstacles to overcome,” he said.

“But we have got through as much…of course we’d always want more laps, but I’m happy with today, I think I almost got a hundred laps in today, so for a half-day running that’s not too bad.

“A little bit behind on the last two days and the car is a lot different to previous years to drive, as are the tyres, but we are working our way through it.”

 

The final session of the test on Friday afternoon began with a wet tyre running after the tankers had been out to soak the track, though it dried very quickly.

Hamilton explained that the W13 was certainly feeling better once the session progressed and he could work his way up the dry compounds to the C5.

“It was a damn sight better than earlier on when it was wet,” said Hamilton when asked for the feeling on his late low-fuel run.

“It wasn’t a good start to the session with all that wet running, but the car was definitely feeling better with the fresher tyres and it was good to get a good feel for the different compounds.”

 

Hamilton is feeling the freshest he ever has

Lewis Hamilton believes he is feeling the freshest he ever has.