Hamilton confident Mercedes will solve engine issues after a 'difficult winter'

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Lewis Hamilton has confidence in Mercedes to solve the engine problems that have struck in testing.

On Thursday, the six-time world champion managed just 14 laps before a suspected oil system issue caused his car to shutdown on track, ending his day early.

That was just the latest in a worryingly long line of problems over the two weeks of running, with the works team and Williams needing the equivalent of a new engine every two days.

“It was a difficult winter last year and I think it’s been a difficult winter this year,” said Hamilton on Friday via RaceFans.

“There was a period of time where this, the V6 turbo era, we were just gaining, gaining, gaining, gaining, gaining, and eventually just with everything, you get to a point of diminishing returns.

"How much more can you squeeze out of a V6 turbo? How much further can you [go]? We’ve kind of been that that peak top speed area now where there’s only a kilometre more that you’re going to gain, for a lot of investment.

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“But I fully believe and trust in the guys to be methodical with the way they move forwards," he insisted.

"The engine is actually very good, and an improvement from last year, it’s just not quite where we want it to be reliability-wise, but I’m sure they’re back at the factory now, working as hard as they can to rectify those issues.”

Hamilton's four-hour stint on Friday was much more productive with a total of 90 laps and afterwards, the 35-year-old was remaining upbeat.

"We made it through testing! It’s crazy how quickly these past two weeks have gone," he commented.

"It’s been intense, with a huge amount of work from everybody at the track and back home at the factories. The car is feeling like a step forward from last year, but it’s clear we’ve still got a few issues we need to iron out ahead of Melbourne.

"I’ve got total confidence in the team and know they’ll be doing everything they can to make sure we arrive in Australia in a good place. The start of the new season comes around so quickly and now we go racing in just two weeks’ time. I can’t wait."

As for his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, the Finn ended pre-season with the two fastest times overall and feels well prepared ahead of Melbourne.

"I’ve already got a nice feeling with the car and it’s been good to get the chance to get comfortable with the long and short runs, and practice some starts too," he said.

"I feel like we’ve made a step forward in most areas and it’s been a successful test. As always we’ll be focusing on our own performance and we’ve got two important weeks coming up now ahead of the first race to put what we’ve learnt from the test into action."