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Frustrating end to strong day for Mercedes

Mercedes were looking on impressive form on Friday at Albert Park, but some late problems for both drivers knocked the cherry off the cake.
While Red Bull were hogging the top of the time sheets in Friday free practice in Melbourne ahead of the 2013 F1 Australian Grand Prix, it was the pace of the Mercedes F1 W04 that was getting some admiring glances from many of those in the paddock at Albert Park.

Lewis Hamilton finished the early session with the fourth fastest time of FP1, and his new team mate Nico Rosberg ended up with the third fastest time of the day after setting a lap of 1:26.322s in the second session in the late afternoon sunshine.

Plenty to celebrate, then? Well - not quite, as it turned out.

"We had a very good day today," explained team principal Ross Brawn. "Until the last five minutes of the second session."

Both drivers ended up with premature ends to their day and having to leave their cars stuck out on the track rather than being able to drive them back to pit lane. Hamilton's car ran off into the gravel at turn 3, while Nico Rosberg was forced to pull over and park just minutes later.

"We got some good mileage on the car today but at the end we had some minor issues," said Toto Wolff. "We had a gearbox issue and a problem with the bib. So it's not a big drama."

It was Rosberg whose gearbox had failed on him, but he was remaining philosophical about the incident and not getting unduly concerned about any potential reliability issues possibly starting to rear their head.

"These things happen and it doesn't affect us for tomorrow," he said afterwards. "That was an interesting day for us. There are a lot of new things to learn with the car and we made some good progress over the day. We can certainly be happy with our testing programme when you compare where we came from last year."

Lewis Hamilton can't make a direct comparison with last year considering it's his first Grand Prix weekend with Mercedes, but he could be forgiven a smile when he looked at the end-of-day timesheets and saw how much better Mercedes was doing compared with his old team McLaren overall.

"Overall it was a good day, if perhaps not the smoothest," he said. "I'm happy with where we are and to see Nico in third place on the timesheets shows that we're pretty competitive. That's a reflection of a great job that everyone has done at the factory and here at the track. "I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend," he added.

Hamilton's late off into the gravel had been caused by damage to the underside of the his car, the team subsequently revealed.

"With Lewis, there was some damage to the floor of the car from an earlier run which caused him to go off," said Brawn.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
15.03.2013- Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
15.03.2013- Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
15.03.2013- Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
Chase Carey, Ross Brawn & Sean Bratches
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?

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Zelda - Unregistered

March 15, 2013 1:02 PM

Looked quietly impressive for Mercedes today although the ominous red bull looks on a different level once again. The Merc drivers both did well. Qualifying may give a chance of points for the pair of them which just a couple of days ago seemed laughable. The only laughable thing at present is how unprepared and behind Maclaren find themselves. I'm assuming the car has plenty of scope for development during the season? However, at this stage Lewis's new venture seems to be the right choice.

Chief_Thunder - Unregistered

March 15, 2013 7:41 PM

@Ptolemy March 15, 2013 7:32 PM "Now he has already started to prove that he is a better driver than Lulu" Tell me what did he really proved? A good time in a practise session? Man/woman u got some major issues man, go see the doctor asap!

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