Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes incredible in Formula 1 testing.

Lewis Hamilton has praised his Mercedes team’s “incredible” performance in the first Formula 1 pre-season test.

The Briton and German team-mate Nico Rosberg produced record mileage in their new car in Barcelona, leaving rivals stunned at its consistency.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. Just the strength of this car, it just keeps going,” said world champion Hamilton.

“After winning two championships, it’s so easy to lose focus – but everyone has done an even better job.”

The Mercedes ran so reliably that the team had to start using their two drivers on each day, rather than alternating them, to avoid tiring them out.

Hamilton, 31, added: “It’s just been an incredible weekend for testing for us. Before we came here they were talking about doing 800km (497 miles) a day and I thought that was crazy because I’ve never done that in the past.

“There are no breakdowns and a lot of reliability.”

Mercedes also tried a new nose design on Thursday, the final day of this week’s test, with a number of unusual aerodynamic features.

Hamilton said: “The front wing is an improvement, which is good. It’s always about small increments and that’s what it’s brought.”

Rosberg, 30, and Hamilton ended the final day seventh and eighth fastest – Mercedes have concentrated on durability running and have not done any performances runs on the softer tyres.

“The car looks fantastic,” added Hamilton. “Obviously we don’t know the pace of the car just yet but what we can say is that it’s gone the distance and that’s half the battle.”_88451140_mercedes