Mercedes AMG PetronasLewis HamiltonNico Rosberg
2015 Constructors' Standings - 1st

Mercedes has kept some cards close to its chest, but it doesn't take in-depth analysis to know it has the strongest, most reliable and most consistent package out there... whether Hamilton and Rosberg can keep it clean is another matter

Does Mercedes know something we don't? Well, almost certainly judging by its relatively low-key pre-season preparations, where miles upon miles were given preference over headline grabbing times.

It's hardly a surprise Mercedes opted not to give it all up front under the watchful eye of their rivals in Spain. The W07 is a relative evolution over its W05 and W06 predecessors, but this is more because Mercedes got it so right first and second times around that its third effort is primarily a refinement.

Without a doubt the W07 is quick and based on the astonishing number of kilometres Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton pumped in over the eight days, it doesn't break easily either.

The decision not to trial the car on ultra-soft tyres - unlike its key rivals - was explained away by the 'purple' rubber not being rolled out for a few races and the Circuit de Catalunya isn't a terribly accurate test bed for it. Skipping on the super-soft might be seen as more of a risk, but if the W07 is kicking back similar data to last year, given the W06's ability to just turn up the wick on those tyres in qualifying, it seems the German firm has nothing to worry about.

Some calculations have suggested Ferrari could be in the ballpark in terms of race pace, but where fuel loads, tyres and programmes can make various margins for error, only the Australian Grand Prix will give a true indication of where the two teams after under parity conditions. Either way, Mercedes were comfortably the more consistent of the two on the longer runs.

So a few questions marks, but few indications that Mercedes won't be the team to beat - despite Rosberg's assertion that Ferrari could be in the ballpark... the tone of said statement was more to hype anticipation than suggest it is what he really thought. But thanks for trying.

What of the drivers then?

Rosberg is still seemingly riding on the wave of confidence that came from his trio of season-concluding wins in 2015. Head down, smiles aplenty, articulate in his responses to questions he fielded this time last year as well, he appears as composed as he has ever been.

By contrast, Hamilton has contended with a fair amount of negativity - both out of his mouth and directed at him -, whether it's strong views on the cockpit halo device, the way F1 is 'broken' or how he doesn't like the new tyres, or why he lulled at the end of the 2015 season and whether he is even that motivated to stress over a fourth title.

Even so, if Hamilton gets tongue tied off track though, he is rather more coherent on it and once the visor goes down he has shown greater ability to compartmentalise his thoughts and bring his best to the table when it truly matters.

 

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