Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Mercedes hold test in France as they bid to close gap on Ferrari and Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton has been off the pace this season (David Davies/PA)
Lewis Hamilton has been off the pace this season (David Davies/PA)

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team have taken part in a secret test as they scramble to return to the front of the Formula One pack.

Hamilton has been cast a distant 68 points adrift of championship leader Charles Leclerc ahead of the sixth round of the season in Spain on Sunday.

Mercedes are expected to bring a number of new parts to Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya in the hope of combating their ‘porpoising’ woes which have all but put an end to Hamilton’s bid for a record eighth title.

And it is understood that Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell drove the revamped Mercedes at a behind-closed-doors test on Wednesday.

F1 teams are allocated two filming days each season, with Mercedes electing to use their second of the year at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France.

Russell, who is 23 points ahead of Hamilton in the championship standings, completed the permitted 62 miles of running – equivalent to a third of a race distance.

Hamilton has won six of the past eight titles – and was only beaten to last year’s championship by Max Verstappen at a deeply contentious season finale.

But Mercedes have fallen behind Ferrari and Red Bull in the pecking order, with Hamilton one second a lap slower than his rivals at the Miami Grand Prix a fortnight ago.

Fernando Alonso, who won two world championships in 2005 and 2006, said Hamilton’s troubles prove the importance of having a winning machine.

“Lewis is driving as good as he has been in the last eight years,” said Alonso, in an interview with the BBC.

“He was dominating the sport and breaking all the records, and now he is doing a mega lap and he is one second behind.

Fernando Alonso, who won two world championships in 2005 and 2006, is currently racing for Alpine (David Davies/PA)
Fernando Alonso, who won two world championships in 2005 and 2006, is currently racing for Alpine (David Davies/PA)

“This is F1. It happened to me when I won two championships. I was beating Michael Schumacher. This was a big topic, but my car was more reliable at that time, had very good performance, and you cannot praise the package enough because the headlines will still be the driver. With Lewis it’s been the same.

“To have more than 100 pole positions is unthinkable, but you need to have the best car and package for many, many years to do that.

“He deserves everything he’s achieved, but this season is a good reminder that in all those records and numbers, a big part of it is the package in the car.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]