Mercedes technical boss James Allison says the team has been “trouble-free” bedding in its 2019 Formula 1 challenger as its focuses on creating a foundation for “all the interesting running” it plans for the second pre-season test next week.

The reigning F1 world champions produced a total of 163 laps between Lewis Hamilton (74 laps) and Valtteri Bottas (89 laps) who once again split driving duties on day two of the first test at Circuit de Catalunya.

Neither driver caught the eye on the timesheet, with Bottas setting a best effort of 1m 19.535s to take sixth place overall, with technical chief Allison playing down the significance of lap times in its current testing programme.

“The car was trouble-free all day and we added to the knowledge about the tyres and the car that we started to acquire yesterday,” Allison said. “This permits us to build a foundation for the second test where all the interesting running will take place.

“We’re just two days in, but already a quarter of the way through the precious days of winter testing. Today was another very useful day for us, accumulating a lot of miles, proving out a lot of components and testing with both drivers several set-up avenues.”

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In recent seasons Mercedes has often steered clear of eye-catching lap times, often accused of sandbagging to keep F1 rivals’ guessing about its true pace, with Bottas hinting the lap times remain unrepresentative of the teams’ speed.

“We did a lot of laps today and again managed to complete our run plan,” Bottas said having driven in the afternoon session. “We’re learning a lot about the W10 with each run and we’re building a better understanding of the set-up.

“The car was better balanced than yesterday, but there's still a bit of room for improvement.

“As you can tell from the lap times, we’ve been focusing on long-run work. I’ll be in the car tomorrow morning, so it will be a busy evening for me, taking in all the learnings from today.

“It’s been a pretty normal test so far; fortunately, the car has been very reliable, so that’s good news.”

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