Lewis Hamilton pulled out of his afternoon test on Tuesday, to help Mercedes save time and optimise its programme.
The German outfit was reluctant to put mileage on its W09 early on because of the freezing conditions which hindered all teams’ ability perform efficiently.
Hamilton was scheduled to take over from Valtteri Bottas mid-day, but given the delay in Mercedes’ programme, the four-time world champion opted not to run to save his team the time necessary to organize a driver change.
Vettel leads the way on chilly second day of testing
“With the weather conditions being up and down and the loss of track time we had yesterday, it made sense to keep Valtteri in the car this afternoon,” said Hamilton.
“Having run in the morning, he was comfortable in the car already and we would have lost about an hour of running time with the driver switch.
“With no real understanding of whether good weather was coming or not, I took the decision to sacrifice that time in order for the team to gain better understanding of the car by going through the run plan.”
Bottas ultimately accumulated 94 laps over the course of the day, posting the second fastest time behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“It was very cold on track today, I don’t think I’ve ever driven in such cold conditions before in Formula 1,” said Bottas.
“Testing is always difficult in these temperatures, the tyres are just not made for these conditions. But we made the most out of the day.
“In the morning, we focused on aero work with different aero rakes on the car, running various tests. In the afternoon, I was doing long runs and we also worked on the set-up.
“It was quite tricky in these temperatures, but we managed to get some work done and found some answers to our testing items.
“The weather is obviously unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do about it and it’s the same conditions for everyone.
“In these conditions, I would say today was a good day.”
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