Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during a Formula One pre-season testing session at the Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, outside Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
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Lewis Hamilton declared his new Mercedes to be the big sister of last year's temperamental title winner but Formula One's first preseason test of 2018 still left plenty of room for conjecture.The four-times world champion, who can expect to start the campaign in Australia on March 25 as a favorite, said bad weather, a resurfaced and smoother track and heavier cars had made comparisons tricky.Hamilton was fastest over the opening four days at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya with a lap of 1 minute 19.333 seconds Thursday, after snow and rain blew out Wednesday's track action.The time was quicker already than anything the Briton did in 2017 preseason testing, when Mercedes were behind only Ferrari, and not far off the 1:19.301 that teammate Valtteri Bottas produced on day six of last year.And he did it on the medium Pirelli tires, slower than the ones used by Ferrari – whose best lap was a 1:19.673 by Sebastian Vettel on softs Tuesday. The second, and final, four-day test in Barcelona starts next Tuesday.
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