Lewis Hamilton 'close' to new deal with Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2018 Spanish GP

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2018 Spanish GP

In this picture, Race victor Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain, May 13, 2018. Norris' auto stopped on track in the afternoon causing a red flag, but was soon back out once McLaren discovered a setting issue and rectified the problem.

"I remember like it was yesterday sitting at home playing this computer game as Michael", Hamilton said.

But team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel were sufficiently close to Hamilton's track-record lap of 1:16.173 to give the Briton some cause for concern.

Pirelli's tyre development programme schedule, which took place alongside this test, saw McLaren and Force India each provide a vehicle.

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The streets of Monte Carlo proved last year's nadir for Hamilton after he qualified only 14th and took the chequered flag in a lowly seventh place on a weekend to forget for the Brit and Mercedes.

"I'm looking forward to Monaco".

Kevin Magnussen was fourth fastest in the Haas but stopped on track in the afternoon after his engineers spotted a problem in the car's data. One of them was Force India's Nikita Mazepin, who finished fifth, while F2 star Jack Aitken - participating in his maiden test in a current vehicle - was one place behind in the Renault.

"It's good to have the test to be able to compare and I think we have some ideas". Aitken is a Renault development driver and his test on Wednesday came three days after he secured his first F2 sprint race win of the season on Sunday.

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Despite talk of having something done before the start of the season in March, five races have gone by and there is still no announcement. His day at the wheel of the FW41 ended with 123 laps on the board as the team looked to better understand the issues it has faced with its auto since the start of the year. And will any of the other teams try and spring a surprise.

"Now it's important to have feedback also on the feeling, the behaviour, this kind of stuff, and I am happy to know that Sebastian said that".

Toro Rosso made a decision to use two drivers on Wednesday with Sean Gelael behind the wheel in the morning before handing over to Pierre Gasly, who came ninth despite running just 39 laps. Secondly, we struggled with the tyres.

Another new name on the timing screens was Jake Dennis, with the Red Bull simulator driver getting a full day behind the wheel of the RB14. The trouble we have now is that with the modern cars carrying so much downforce, Turn 1 isn't a long braking zone and the only decent braking zone into Turn 10 comes after two corners where it's very hard to follow the auto in front. Nicolas Latifi was the other driver on Pirelli duty, getting his second consecutive day in the Force India as a result.

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