Mercedes W15 optimism grows as Lewis Hamilton offers glowing praise

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton climbs into his W15 in the Mercedes garage during F1 2024 winter testing.

Lewis Hamilton climbs into the Mercedes W15.

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes’ determination and communication during F1 2024 testing is the best he’s ever witnessed in his time with the team.

Mercedes enjoyed an encouraging test in Bahrain, with the new-look W15 car recording 361 laps over the course of the three-day test.

The Brackley-based team ended the final day in second spot on the timesheets, with Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell posting the second-fastest lap of the day, just 0.046 seconds adrift of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc despite running tyres that were a step harder.

Lewis Hamilton praises ‘great’ Mercedes platform

Hamilton announced earlier this month that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of 2024, having gone without a win for two full seasons.

After his final pre-season with his current team, however, the 39-year-old reckons the team’s desire and teamwork is as strong as he’s ever known – and he believes Mercedes have “a great platform to build on” with the W15.

He said: “Overall, it’s been a really good test.

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“I’m really proud of everyone trackside and those back at the factory. Every single woman and man has been working tirelessly, both at Brackley, Brixworth and here in Bahrain.

“It’s massively encouraging and great to see everyone working so well together. The focus, determination, and communication is the best I’ve ever seen.

“We know we’ve got work to do and we’re not yet where we want to be. We knew that would be the case coming into the test though.

“We’ve got a great platform to build on. We’ll go away and work hard over the next couple of days to go through all the data from the test.

“I’m really excited for the start of the season next week and we’ll be heading into it in good shape.”

Russell, who claimed Mercedes’ last F1 win at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, echoed Hamilton’s claim that the W15 represents a solid starting point for the team, but confessed that Red Bull remain the team to beat.

He added: “We’ve had a solid three days here in Bahrain. We managed to get through all of our planned programme, despite the stoppages.

“The car has been handling well and correlates to the feeling we had on the simulator ahead of coming here. We’ve got a very good base to build from.

“We’re aware that there’s a lot more lap time to find. We knew that would be the case ahead of the test, and Red Bull are looking very strong once again.

“Nevertheless, I’m confident that we’re in a much better place than we were 12 months ago.

The team at Brackley and Brixworth have done a great job to get us into this position and with a car that is a step in the right direction.

“We now need to focus on firstly getting the most out of the package we have and secondly, adding more downforce
and trying to close that gap.”

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