Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes has improved significantly from the test days of two weeks ago in Bahrain. The seven-time world champion could only come somewhat close to the time of Max Verstappen on Friday during the second free practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“We have certainly taken a step,” Hamilton says after the second practice session. “We did a lot of work last week, but there is still work to be done. The balance of the car is not as we want. This weekend it will be better, but not perfect yet.”
Mercedes appeared to suffer from several minor issues during winter testing in Bahrain, completing the fewest laps of any team. Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas then regularly complained about the handling of the W12.
In the first free practice for the Bahrain GP, Bottas conceded almost three tenths to the fastest time of Verstappen and Hamilton more than half a second. Later in the day, the Brit was more than two tenths slower than the Dutchman and the Finn nearly four tenths.
Hamilton is not surprised by Verstappen’s good lap times. “We expected Red Bull to be as fast as they are now, if not faster,” he said.
McLaren also left a good impression. Lando Norris, for example, stayed closest to Verstappen in the second practice session and was third fastest in the first session. “McLaren looks good and it is good to see that they have taken that step forward,” said Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton clocked the fourth and third fastest time during the first free practice sessions.
Bottas: ‘It was sometimes impossible to drive a car’
Bottas was less positive about the car than his teammate. He complained in the second practice that the car felt unmanageable. “The last long run we did was quite inconsistent. Sometimes the car just couldn’t be driven.”
“The balance errors, especially at the rear of the car, were a big problem during the test days. We improved that in terms of set-up. The car feels better too, but is not yet as I would like it to be. to have.”
Nevertheless, Bottas remains optimistic with a view to the rest of the weekend. “I think we will still compete with the top,” said the Finn. “McLaren looked good today and Red Bull was as expected, but I think we will come. I don’t think we are the fastest, but we have a clear goal.”
- Third free practice: Saturday – 1 p.m.
- Qualifying: Saturday – 4pm
- Race: Sunday – 5pm
Source site www.nu.nl