Hamilton feeling happier after change of chassis

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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.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”