Optimism at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton hails ‘finest session of season’ at Japanese GP


Two weeks in the past Mercedes endured a brutal Australian Grand Prix.

If Friday at Suzuka is any indication, the Silver Arrows may ship a robust bounceback on the Japanese Grand Prix.

The staff left Melbourne battered, bruised, and with out something to indicate for his or her efforts Down Beneath. Lewis Hamilton’s day ended early as his W15 suffered a failure after simply 15 laps. Whereas George Russell remained within the struggle for factors, an accident on the penultimate lap whereas battling for place with Fernando Alonso ended his day, and shut Mercedes out of the outcomes.

The staff turned their focus to Japan — and Crew Principal Toto Wolff modified his plans and made the journey to Suzuka in spite of everything — and Friday’s follow classes left the staff singing a extra optimistic tone forward of Saturday.

“We’ve achieved a variety of work during the last week centered on making the automotive extra constant. We’ve seen throughout the primary three races that now we have classes the place we glance sturdy, however in terms of qualifying and the race, we’ve fallen wanting our expectations,” mentioned Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin within the staff’s post-practice report. “It’s too early to say whether or not we’ve made the progress that we hope for, however it’s encouraging that the drivers are happier with the texture of the automotive. The info additionally means that now we have acquired the tyres in a greater window.”

For Hamilton, it was the perfect day of the season.

“FP1 was an ideal session for us. It was the perfect session for us to this point this yr and the perfect the automotive has felt,” described the seven-time champion. “I felt very constructive and excited heading into FP2 as it is a circuit that each driver likes to drive.”

Whereas wet situations lower quick the second follow session, Hamilton nonetheless believes the W15 is in place heading into the weekend.

“Within the final two years right here, we’ve struggled with a automotive that has had an inconsistent steadiness and has been troublesome to drive. The staff has achieved a variety of nice work since Australia, and we appeared to hit the bottom working at the moment,” added Hamilton. “The automotive was undoubtedly in a sweeter spot. We’ve acquired a greater baseline to start out from this weekend and hopefully we will construct on that.”

Russell additionally hailed the nice begin to the weekend, however provided a phrase of warning to Mercedes followers that climate situations could possibly be enjoying a much bigger position than anything.

“We carried out higher than we anticipated to in FP1. That was a pleasing shock, and the automotive was feeling very nice to drive. Each Lewis and I have been pleased with the general steadiness. The W15 has been performing higher when the situations are cooler although, so that could be a observe of warning,” outlined Russell. “Our focus at the moment was attempting a number of check objects and experiments to make the automotive extra constant in variable situations. Time will inform whether or not these have had the meant affect and it was irritating that we couldn’t consider these additional within the afternoon.”

Mercedes will get another crack at placing the W15 within the very best window earlier than qualifying on Saturday.

However after how their journey to Australia ended, that is precisely the begin to the Japanese Grand Prix the staff was trying to find.