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Mercedes wary of rivals bringing 'a lot of performance'

Mercedes have given their assessment after the first week of pre-season testing in Barcelona, where they topped the timesheets with final-day efforts.

Mercedes have described a "satisfying" start to their 2022 pre-season programme, but warned against reading into the times after they led a 1-2 on the final day of the first test. McLaren and Ferrari made the early headlines as F1's new era began in Barcelona, before Mercedes moved ahead across Friday's running as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell upped their pace. After Hamilton's comments that Mercedes have some "obstacles" to overcome , the team's Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, gave his assessment of the opening test week. "We planned a very busy programme for the three days and we managed to get through the high priority items, making good progress with the car and power unit," reflected Shovlin. "It has taken a huge effort from the team to bring the W13 to the track, so it's very satisfying for everyone to see it cover 1800km without significant issues, and to show good promise from a pace point of view."

Mercedes "mindful" of their F1 rivals ahead of the season opener

Despite setting the early pace, Shovlin stressed that development rates up and down the grid are likely to be "very high" and reckons some teams could bring "a lot of performance" to their cars before the season opener. F1 will stage another three-day test at the Bahrain International Circuit from 10-12 March, with the opening round of the campaign taking place at the same venue a week later. "We've learnt a huge amount over the last few days and still have a lot of data to go through ahead of Bahrain," said Shovlin. "The rate of progression is going to be very high for all teams and, whilst we look to be in a good place here, we need to be mindful that our competitors may have a lot of performance to come between now and the first race."

Extra time in the simulator for Hamilton and Russell

Shovlin added that both Hamilton and Russell are scheduled to be back in the Mercedes simulator between tests in a bid to accelerate progress. "We'll be working with the drivers on the simulator over the next few days," he confirmed. "We've still got work to do tuning the balance both for single lap and long run. "Bahrain is a very different circuit to a cold Barcelona, but hopefully we can make good progress in those areas and build on what has been a promising start to our winter testing programme."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix