The first test of the 2015 F1 season has concluded at Jerez and it comes as no surprise as to who looked the strongest among the eight teams that took part.
The teams that took part in the test included Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Williams, Toro Rosso, Red Bull Racing and Sauber. Force India opted to miss the first test despite launching their new car on January 19.
With Ferrari powered cars topping the time sheets on all four days, the Mercedes clearly had the edge over the other team's in-terms of reliability and preparation for the upcoming season.
The Brackley-based team continued from where they left off last season, when they dominated the lap count during testing and completed a mammoth 515 laps in four days, that was over 134 laps more than the next best team Sauber with 381 laps.
The team has clearly taken a step forward on the reliability front and will not worry about the individual lap times as the first test never gives a clear indication regarding the pecking order for the rest of the season.
Hamilton feels that the team have done a brilliant job in preparing the cars and was surprised at the number of miles accumulated by the two drivers.
"Paddy [Lowe] just said it has been the highest week of mileage, so that's a surprise for us all, with Nico having good days with over 150 laps and for me to have an average of 100 laps on both days, it's great to see the work put in by all the guys in garage," Hamilton said, as quoted on espnf1.
Another team that stood out was Ferrari, who were quick on all but one of the days of the test, showing that they have clearly taken a step forward from last season. In 2014, it was the first time since 1993 that the Maranello-based team had gone an entire season without a win.
They completed an impressive 344 laps in the four days, with both drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen topping the timesheets.
Both the drivers were happy with the car and believe that the team have made a step forward and are confident that they have a good package to work with for the rest of the season.
"For sure it's much better than what we had last year. I think the whole package is better all-round; the engine and the car itself, everything has improved. Obviously we still have a lot of hard work to try and improve things but it's a good starting point," Raikkonen said, after topping the timesheets on the final day at Jerez.
The two teams to have put up dismal performances were Red Bull Racing and McLaren. Both struggled to get their cars on the track and managed just 164 and 79 laps respectively.
Apart from struggling with power unit issues, the former four-time world champions also had to forego almost a full day after new driver Daniil Kvyat crashed the car and damaged the front wing and with Red Bull not carrying a spare, they had to continue the rest of the day doing just system checks and practice starts.
McLaren, meanwhile, managed to complete just 79 laps following struggles with their new power unit leaving themselves a mountain to climb in the next two tests at Barcelona before the season begins on March 15 at Melbourne.
Both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button struggled to set competitive times as small problems kept them in their garages for long periods of time.
But the Woking-based team's engineering director Matt Morris seemed confident that McLaren have the pace despite not being higher on timesheets. He revealed that the team were not running their Honda power units at their full performance level.
"It would be nice to be a little further up [the timesheets], but we've obviously got great simulation tools these days and we know where we are in terms of our performance because we are not running at maximum performance at the moment," Morris said.
Out of the rest of the teams, Williams had a strong test with nothing spectacular and similarly Lotus seem to have taken a step forward following their switch from Renault to Mercedes power units for this season, and despite losing out on the first day, they did make for lost time in the next three days.
However, the surprise package of the Jerez test was the performances of Sauber, who were consistently close to the top of the timesheets, and even topped the table on the third day of the test with Filipe Nasr at the wheel.
The Ferrari powered team managed to complete the second highest number of laps after Mercedes and showed high speed along the way.
The second and the third tests will be both held at Barcelona, with the second test starting on February 19 and the third beginning a little over a week later on February 26. These tests should give a clearer indication as to the pecking order ahead of the first race in Australia.