After a lengthy winter break, drivers have been reporting for work this week and for the Mercedes duo that means hitting the track again.
Having qualified a whopping 0.7 seconds behind Max Verstappen at the final event in 2022, Hamilton commented: “I Definitely wasn’t expecting to see such a big gap,” Hamilton said after qualifying.
Lewis never wanted to drive the W13 again
“But we are losing 0.6secs on the straight.
When asked whether he was looking forward to the race how Lewis replied, ”I am looking forward to the end of Tuesday, which is the last time I have to drive this thing,” he laughed. “Don’t ever plan to drive this one again. It won’t be one of the ones I request to have in my contract.
F1 tyres for 2023 already shipped
Yet today at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, Hamilton did once again jump into the W13 car to help Pirelli with the extension to their 2022 tyre testing programme which they were unable to complete last year.
Whilst the tyres being tested are a development of the 2022 rubber, they will not be used in anger before 2024 as Pirelli have already shipped the tyres for the first set of flyaway races due to start in the coming weeks.
George Russell was at the helm on Wednesday and Hamilton took over the reigns today.
FIA grant special dispensation
Special dispensation has been granted by the FIA for the teams to use the 2022 cars for the Pirelli tests given the regulations state a car used for testing outside of the pre-season must be from 2 seasons prior. Clearly running the 2021 spec cars with their 13 inch wheels would make no sense at all.
Paul Ricard which is owned by Bernie Ecclestone has installed a sprinkler system which can simulate wet weather running.
Paul Ricard to be flooded tomorrow
Pirelli will remain at the French circuit for the next two days as they will be testing wet and intermediate weather tyres with the Alpha tour pairing of Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda.
Ferrari and Sauber assisted Pirelli with testing last month and a third and final 2023 tyre test has been scheduled by Pirelli in southern Spain at the circuit in Jerez, where Aston Martin and Mercedes will be in action next week.