• Second Barcelona Test - Day Three

Hamilton: Identity of Mercedes' nearest rivals is 'irrelevant'

ESPN Staff
February 28, 2015 « MP4-30 a big improvement on 2014 car - Magnussen | Force India must stay grounded - Hulkenberg »
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Lewis Hamilton has no interest in which team will be Mercedes' closest rival at the first race of the 2015 season and he will not be combing through the lap times of his rivals' to see who looks quick.

Hamilton finished his final day of testing roughly 0.25s clear of Williams and Ferrari, but did so using a slower compound tyre than his rivals suggesting the gap may be bigger. The times at the three pre-season test hint at a significant Mercedes advantage, but Hamilton said he rarely glances at the time screens and does not analyse the pace of his rivals.

"I can only guess that it's going to be someone like Williams or Red Bull or Ferrari [who are closest], but it's irrelevant and there's no need to know who it is," he said. "When we get there [to the first race in Australia] we'll face whoever we are fighting. We hope we are at the front fighting with them.

"I don't see a reason to go home and think about it, I just need to prepare myself and work with the engineers to make sure we have left no stone unturned and arrive at the race best prepared."

Hamilton's time was in turn roughly 0.25s down on the best lap of testing in Barcelona set by team-mate Nico Rosberg on Friday. But Hamilton is not concerned after cloud cover resulted in low track temperatures on Saturday afternoon when he used the soft tyres for the first time this year.

"I put the lap together, but it's just the track today was quite slow compared to the first day," he said. "I think Nico wasn't comfortable in the car yesterday and I thought it would be interesting to see if I felt the same today, and I did. I think the tyres and the circuit are behaving a little bit differently to the last couple of days and the track has probably been at 0.5s to 0.7s slower than the first day."

Asked if he wanted anything else from his six days in the car, he said: "Just more laps," before admitting reliability is still at the back of his mind despite Mercedes' impressive lap count over winter testing.

"I don't think you are ever comfortable with reliability. You never know when the car is on the limit, so reliability could be a problem at any time. We are conscious of it and working to improve a lot of things, but the car is better and more reliable than last year. The best time to have problems is in testing, but we don't know what will happen tomorrow or at the first test. As I said, the team are doing absolutely everything to be very meticulous and do the best job we can as a whole."

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