Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ reliability issues throughout pre-season testing are “a concern” and admits the team has "plenty of problems to iron-out" heading into the 2020 Formula 1 season.

The reigning world champion stopped on track just 14 laps into his afternoon programme on Thursday when the engine in his W11 suffered a precautionary shutdown due to an oil pressure anomaly.

Hamilton and Mercedes subsequently missed nearly half a day’s running before he returned to action for his final outing of testing and racked up 90 laps on Friday morning.

As a result, Mercedes was forced to move onto its second power unit ahead of the sixth and final day of pre-season testing at Barcelona. An electrical issue on Valtteri Bottas’ car last week had already prompted one engine change.

There have been problems for its customer team Williams too, with the British squad running three engines over the fortnight of testing after encountering various power unit related issues.

“It’s a concern for sure,” Hamilton said of Mercedes’ reliability so far in testing.

“Normally in this pre-season testing we’re much more confident in the reliability, so it’s not been perfect for us. I think we’re on our second engine already.

"It’s not been perfect and we’ve found that we’ve got plenty of problems that we are trying to iron out. I don’t know how long it will take to iron out but that’s never a bad thing necessarily to discover them through testing.

“It’s definitely not an easy or relaxed scenario for us but I have every confidence in the guys back in the factory that they will analyse and do the best they can in the next two weeks to make sure we start off on the right foot."

Hamilton ended the final morning of testing third in the timesheets and just 0.050s adrift of Charles Leclerc, whose Ferrari team expects to be trailing Mercedes during the early rounds of the season after admitting it is behind its chief rival.

Asked about Ferrari downplaying its chances ahead of the new season, Hamilton replied: “I don’t pay attention to anybody else through testing.

“We literally just focus on our job and I literally have no idea what other people have been saying.

“Of course I’m aware of people bigging us up and talking themselves down so they can potentially overachieve unexpectedly or whatever, but it doesn’t make any difference.

“People seem to think it’s a psychological battle but it’s really not. Only for the weak-minded maybe, but for us it doesn’t affect us whatsoever.”

 

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