Mercedes drivers confident there is time to be found after Abu Dhabi practice


ABU DHABI – Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are confident that they have more time to find following the first two practice sessions for the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday.

Hamilton heads into the final race of the year with a 17-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship, knowing that a top two finish at the Yas Marina Circuit will be enough to clinch him a second world title.

The Briton sent out an early statement of intent to teammate and rival Nico Rosberg by finishing quickest in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday, but believes that there is still room for improvement.

“It’s been a good Friday,” Hamilton said after FP2. “We’ve run the same programme as we run every race weekend but this time we had the whole of both sessions to work with the tires, look at long runs, analyse setup and the countless other things you need to assess in practice which was great.

“We made good steps forward with the setup but, as always, there is still more time to be found. We’ll keep chipping away at it and look to improve in every area possible.

“But the car feels great – the best I’ve ever driven here without doubt. The team have done an amazing job. Coming into the weekend I was already excited and couldn’t wait to get out on track. When you know you have a package as competitive as ours it’s like being a kid at Christmas.

“I don’t feel any particular pressure this weekend. I’ll just drive the way I always drive and what will be, will be. So far it’s all moving in the right direction so I just have to keep working away at it.”

Rosberg’s deficit to Hamilton was only small, but he does not feel that he has hooked up a perfect lap just yet.

“It’s been a good day today but I really haven’t got my best lap together yet, so there is still a lot of work to do over the rest of the weekend,” the German said. “In general the car felt great out there today. I just need to fine-tune it so that the set-up is exactly to my liking, then go for it and get the job done.

“This track really is amazing. It’s always a highlight when darkness falls and the lights come up – just spectacular! It will be a great show here, so I hope the fans at the circuit and everyone watching at home enjoy it.”