Lewis Hamilton was buoyed by Mercedes’ performance during Friday’s Formula 1 practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, saying the W08 car feels “fantastically fast”.
Hamilton stormed to the top of the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2 for Mercedes, posting the fastest ever lap of the Red Bull Ring in the afternoon running to finish 0.147 seconds clear of the field.
The British driver is targeting a fightback in Austria after finishing fifth last time out in Baku after his headrest came loose, and was pleased to enjoy a relatively stress-free Friday to set himself up for the rest of the weekend.
“It’s been a really good Friday with no major headaches to complain about so far,” Hamilton said. “We had to swap out a spark plug during FP2, but the guys did a great job to turn the car around and we still managed to complete our program.
“Most importantly, the car feels fantastically fast here. There’s already a nice balance and it feels good out on-track.
“This car is so quick in comparison to what we raced here last year. It’s tricky, but a proper thrill to hook up a lap.
“The team is in good spirits and we’re all up for another exciting fight with the Ferraris this weekend.”
Teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third in both sessions, and was pleased with the impact of the updates brought by the team to Austria for the race weekend.
“There’s a good feeling inside the team and the car is clearly quick here. It was great to see that the upgrades the team worked so hard to deliver for this weekend worked straight out of the box,” Bottas said.
“Aerodynamically we’ve made another step forward from Baku, which is encouraging. This track punishes you if you make a mistake, and I tested those limits, but that’s something I can learn from and build upon for the rest of the weekend.
“The balance of the car feels good and we’ll fine tune the setup some more tonight to be ready for qualifying. Ferrari are looking strong here too, so we’re expecting another interesting weekend ahead.”