Lewis Hamilton was quick to praise Mercedes for the updates it has brought to its W08 Formula 1 car after dominating Friday practice in Spain, saying the team has done an “amazing job”.
Hamilton has been embroiled in a close fight with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel through the early part of the 2017 season, and currently trails the German by 13 points at the top of the drivers’ championship.
Mercedes arrived in Spain with a raft of updates for its W08 car in the hope of creating a gap to Ferrari, and appeared to do so in practice as Hamilton headed up a one-two finish for the Silver Arrows in both sessions.
“First practice was very, very good but in second practice the track changed and shifted quite a lot, so it was slippery and quite a lot slower for everyone, especially with the gusts of wind,” Hamilton said.
“It was massively challenging but still fun nonetheless. The team has done an amazing job with the upgrades and the car is working just as we expected.
“It’s been a much better start to the weekend for me than in Sochi, so I’m very happy. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep working, we want to be number one.”
“It was a pretty good day for the team,” technical director James Allison added. “We have some new bits on the car for this weekend that we wanted to try out and ensure everything was working well with those and it seems like it is.
“At a track that can suffer from high tire degradation, we’re keen to ensure that our car is good on both the long-runs and the short-runs. We feel like we’re in better shape in that compared to winter testing.
“We’ve definitely made some progress and we’ll be in with a shout if we keep up the good work this weekend.”
The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.
The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.
The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.
ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend
The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.
A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.
Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:
(All times are Eastern)
IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1
Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)
IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2
10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)
IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3
10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout
IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4
10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race