CHEER UP HAMILTON: Could Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton's momentary lapse of concentration be due to his recent break-up with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger? Image: AP/ Miguel Morenatti
JEREZ, Spain - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton went into a silent spin on Wednesday (Jan 4 2015) as the first test of the 2015 pre-season concluded at Jerez.
Hamilton was back in his silver Mercedes for the last of four test days in southern Spain just as news hit the celebrity headlines about his latest split from long-time singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.
Mercedes' PR team made it clear questions about Hamilton's private life were not welcome at Jerez but elsewhere pop-star and actor Scherzinger confirmed to the The Mirror: "I'm devastated that it didn't work out."
'DIZZIED HIS SENSES'
Hamilton was silent on the topic but he did spin the new W06 car, leaving observers such as London's The Times correspondent Kevin Eason wondering if "the break-up of his relationship will have the same effect that dizzied his senses on each of the three previous occasions he's split with the singer".
At the top of the lap times, yet again, was the surprisingly dominant new Ferrari, driven on Wednesday by Kimi Raikkonen. New team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, however, joined those who sense that Mercedes was sandbagging.
He said: "In terms of performance, I don't think our competitors – one in particular - have shown their true potential over these past days. I think we will only discover the truth about them and about ourselves at the last Barcelona test session."
HEADED FOR BARCELONA
Like Mercedes, another 2015 favourite keeping a low profile at Jerez has been the similarly powered Williams, but Felipe Massa said the team wanted to take on its dominant rivals in 2015 and aim for wins and the title. He was quoted by Brazil's Globo as saying: "Mercedes seems to be very good, so it is on them that Williams must focus."
He added: "Really it's too early to say anything. Actually it's impossible. Ferrari does seem to have improved not only the car but also the engine but we will only know who will be the opponents after the second tests in Barcelona.
"Only there will teams run with low fuel, to see how the car behaves when it is light."
It is possible, then, that Ferrari has already taken fuel out of its new SF15-T car?
Lewis Hamilton said on Wednesday: "My engineer told me Ferrari was on a different programme to us. Their runs were much shorter."