Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has successfully removed the negative ‘diva’ traits of its previous Formula 1 car with its 2018 challenger the W09 as he prepares for the final day of pre-season testing.

Last year Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described his team’s 2017 F1 car as a ‘diva’ with positive and negatives points which became evident as the German manufacturer’s performance and form fluctuated at the start of the season.

Hamilton feels Mercedes has produced an impressive F1 car this year which has taken out the negative aspects from its predecessor and is relishing his final testing opportunity on Friday as pre-season testing concludes at Circuit de Catalunya.

“I think at the moment, we don’t have [diva traits],” Hamilton said. “There doesn’t feel any of those. We are just getting to know each other at the moment so I can’t call her a diva, but we shall see.

“Balance wise it’s not perfect at the moment but I am enjoying driving the car. When you leave the garage and you take the pit limiter off and you bomb it down to Turn 1… ah man, I wish you guys could feel it. It’s great fun. We have a lot more downforce and I think yesterday I was flat through Turn 9 which I have never been in the ten years that I have been racing. It’s awesome.

“I am looking forward to seeing the car progress, understanding the car more, understanding the tools that I have in order to manoeuvre around the balance of the car.”

Hamilton accepts his Mercedes squad still has work to do to fully understand the behaviour of its 2018 F1 car and the new Pirelli compounds, an issue which the team struggled with at times last year, but the four-time F1 world champion is eager to find solutions in order to maximise the strengths of his new car. On the penultimate day of pre-season testing Hamilton produced 84 laps with a best lap of 1m 19.296s. 

“At the moment, with the tyres on this track it’s hard to understand how to utilise them as opposed to the last tyre test in Abu Dhabi, for example, which was much easier to understand,” he said. “Here in Barcelona, it’s very, very tricky.

“Whether we are going to struggle in Australia who knows, but I am excited about that journey of the experiment of understanding the tyres and getting on top of them, hopefully ahead of everyone else.”

Hamilton returns to driving duties for the morning of the final day of F1 pre-season testing in Spain before handing over to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas for the afternoon session.

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