Lewis Hamilton is feeling more comfortable with his car after Mercedes decided to change the chassis of his W04 after two large cracks were discovered following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks ago.
The two-time United States GP winner finished sixth in the disrupted first practice session and fourth in FP2 on Friday afternoon. Although he failed to match the pace of the Red Bull drivers at the head of the field, Hamilton did show a good, consistent pace during his long-runs, and he is feeling confident heading into the rest of the weekend.
“After we changed the chassis yesterday, the car felt better to drive, particularly on the long run when it was pretty consistent, so that’s a positive for me,” Hamilton said after practice. “The option tire is working well for a long stint, which may open up some possibilities for us with race strategy.
“It was a pretty straight-forward day although we still have some work to do to nail the set-up because it’s not quite there yet. But all of us in the team are focused on ending the season on a high and taking that foundation with us into the winter.”
Teammate Nico Rosberg was also pleased with his performance on Friday in Austin as the German driver looks to build upon his podium finish in Abu Dhabi.
“The car felt like it was on rails and I was very happy with the balance,” Rosberg said. “I hope we can give the Red Bulls something to think about this weekend and I will be pushing 100 per cent for another podium.”
Mercedes currently leads Ferrari by twenty-six points in the battle for second place in the constructors’ championship, and the Silver Arrows will be keen on widening this gap in the final two rounds of the season.