Mercedes has downplayed the seriousness of the electrical problem that brought Valtteri Bottas’ afternoon programme to a premature end on the second day of Formula 1 pre-season testing.

The German manufacturer dominated the opening day of running in Barcelona and looked to be on course for another seamless test until Bottas encountered the team’s first reliability setback with more than an hour remaining.

Bottas returned to the garage before the shutters were put up, indicating that all was not well before Mercedes confirmed the issue had sidelined the Finn for the rest of the day.

But speaking at the end of the second day, Mercedes technical director James Allison insisted the problem was not major and would be “quickly resolved”.

“We are all a little disappointed to have taken an early bath today,” Allison said.

“But we console ourselves with the fact that the problem we encountered will quickly be resolved and we managed a healthy 183 laps before encountering it.

“That is, after all, why we go testing. It's encouraging to see that, for the second day running, the car felt honest, good and reasonably speedy.

“Lewis' race simulation in the morning was tidy and Valtteri's, until it was interrupted, was on a good trajectory.”

Despite not focusing on performance runs on day two, Mercedes still grabbed the attention of the Barcelona paddock as it debuted a new adjustable steering wheel innovation on its W11.

Allison said Mercedes’ drivers were on a “voyage of discovery” getting to grips with the manually-operated system, dubbed DAS, which the team believes is legal.

“We also had an interesting day activating the DAS system for the first time and we are on a voyage of discovery with the drivers to learn about the system and see what it can bring us for the season ahead,” he explained.

"We’re now looking forward to the final day of the first test tomorrow and continuing to work through the tasks we have to clear before Melbourne.”

Speaking about his issue, Bottas added: “Obviously running was cut short because of an issue, which made the day a bit trickier.

“It was a good day of learning more about the car. We got some good mileage in and I almost completed a full race simulation.

“So, there was a lot of good experience gained from that and lots of data for us to investigate ahead of tomorrow.

“The car felt good and I'm looking forward to continuing the running tomorrow morning, hopefully we will have a clean day.”

This came after reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton had enjoyed a trouble-free run in the morning as he completed 106 laps around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The six-time world champion said it had been one of his most enjoyable days of testing ever and felt he could have done another 100 laps.

“We got some great mileage on the new car today,” Hamilton said.

“As a team, we completed a race run in the morning, which is great for reliability and shows the foundation we are starting on.

"This is probably the first day ever, that I can remember, where I finished a test session and wanted to continue.

“We had 20 minutes left and I wanted us to maximise and do more laps, but we'd ran out of tyres.

“It felt good today and I felt physically fantastic. To get through a race run and still feel at the end of it that I could do another 100 laps is a good feeling.”



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