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Hamilton admits he has 'no idea what to expect' in Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton will return to the track this week for his first F1 sessions since suffering heartbreak at the hands of Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he has "no idea what to expect" from Mercedes' new W13 as he prepares to put it on track in Barcelona. Wednesday morning will see F1 cars return to the track for the first of six four-hour-long sessions spread over three days in at Circuit de Catalunya. The sessions will not be broadcast on television and no live timings will be provided for fans, with F1 instead treating next month's trip to Bahrain as their official pre-season test event – but RacingNews365.com will be trackside to bring you all the latest developments. For Hamilton, the Barcelona test will see him back in the presence of Max Verstappen for the first time since December's title showdown, which saw the Red Bull driver complete a controversial last-lap pass to snatch away what would have been an eighth world title for the Briton. The two stars of the sport pushed themselves to new heights during 2021 and must now go one step further as they prepare for what promises to be yet another exciting F1 season. Speaking to selected members of the media - including RacingNews365.com - ahead of the new season, Hamilton confidently said: "If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait until you see this year." But he also admitted that, despite hours spent on the Mercedes simulator in Brackley, he is not yet sure how his team's W13 will perform on the track. "I have no idea what to expect when we get to get on track," he said. "I hope that the simulator is accurate. If not, we'll make corrections and push forward. "This is actually the most exciting part of of the year for me, I would say, at least up until this point. When you see all of these engineers, all the men and women that have been working so hard, you see the smiles on their faces and the excitement, because all this work that we've been doing for months and months... "The pieces are now built and they've been put together, and then you get to see the car delivered and then there's two of us who get to go out and drive. It's a special experience to go through with everyone."

F1's 2022 cars are unlike anything Hamilton has driven before

Hamilton may have only driven the new Mercedes W13 at a filming day but the seven-time World Champion says that getting behind the wheel of the newest silver arrow is a completely different experience. His team will have three days in Barcelona to shake down their car before next month's official test in Bahrain, and setting up the new machine will not be easy, their star driver has warned. Toto Wolff has already looked to play down Mercedes' chances of making it nine Constructors' Championship titles in a row in 2022 as he talked up rivals Ferrari and even suggested that there could be a Brawn-style upset from a smaller team this season . Out of title contention in 2021, Ferrari were able to turn their full attention to getting a head start for 2022 by perfecting their new F1-75 in the wind tunnel at Maranello. With F1 operating a sliding scale for aerodynamic testing , which gives the worst-performing teams more wind tunnel time, Ferrari had plenty of runs at their disposal after dropping to sixth in the 2020 standings. But with testing days limited to just three in Barcelona and three in Bahrain, Hamilton is well aware of the importance of hitting the ground running. "It's going to require a lot of finesse and a lot of work to find how to set it up, with new, different tools that we have," he added. "The car is so different; it's so different to any other car that I've driven in the past, in terms of the aero balance and how it shifts mechanical balance... it's a very different machine to drive."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying