Lewis Hamilton returned to test for Mercedes for the first time since he stunned the team by confirming he will leave at the end of this season.
Hamilton was one of two drivers conducting tyre testing duties for Pirelli at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. He was joined by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. Both drivers used the cars they raced during last season.
The pair covered over 1,200 kilometres between them at the track which last hosted a round of the world championship in 1997. With ambient temperatures of 30C and track temperatures a usefully representative 20C, Alonso logged 156 laps and set a quickest time of 1’18.752. Hamilton did 126 and got his time down to a 1’18.936.
However the objective for the two drivers was not performance runs but continuing the development of tyres for the 2025 season. Ferrari already contributed to this last week, running Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr in an SF-23 at Fiorano.
Mercedes and Aston Martin will continue Pirelli’s testing programme at the circuit tomorrow. George Russell and Lance Stroll will take over driving from their respective team mates.
Hamilton said news of his planned move had received a positive reaction in a post on social media. “The past few days have been all love,” he wrote. “Thank you all, the energy and support means everything. Can’t wait to start this season, 2024 is all us.”
Mercedes are due to launch their new car on Wednesday next week.
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