Date: 26th February 2016 at 8:32am
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One of the clear signs from the first four days of winter testing was that the class of the field, Mercedes, will be even stronger in 2016.

Three-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg completed over 1,000 more kilometres than any other team during the entire first winter test at Barcelona.

Mercedes focus was clearly on mileage, pushing the car to breaking point in a bid to discover any small issues.

From a reliability position the first thing which was to break was the drivers, with Nico Rosberg having to give an unscheduled handover to Lewis Hamilton at one stage as he was just too tired.

The team would eventually show that the car had huge reliability, completing the test on the one power-unit with the team discovering only small issues.

Performance was not a priority, with Nico Rosberg’s time of 1minute 24.867s the fastest Mercedes set over all four days.

That was over 2 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel’s time for Ferrari set on day two on the ultra-soft Pirelli’s in qualifying simulation.

But in comparison with Rosberg’s time set on the medium compound tyre and during a long-ish stint, once adjusted to counter the different Pirelli compound’s and for the addition weight for fuel the times would be a lot closer.

?The car is quick, and there are some real innovations on it – I’m very impressed, You can really see the progress, how far we have come. Rosberg told formula1.com.

Mercedes didn’t come to Barcelona with a radical new car like Ferrari, who had changed both the front of the aero, the back of the car and a new power-unit lay-out.

However they did trial some new designed parts for the floor and the front wing.

?There are so many things where we are ahead of the game. I am not saying we are the quickest, but there is some good stuff on the car. Nico continued.

?We?re paying attention [to rivals], of course. We have strategists who are doing all the calculations already, so we more or less know where we are – because they are able to see full tanks and so on, after a while they get a picture of where everybody is.

?So we know where we are, within a band of errors. Would you like to know? Sorry, I’m not going to say!?