Hamilton, Russell and Shovlin comment on Saudi Arabian GP FP1&2

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin give their comments on the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Free Practice 1&2.

Learning and evaluation order of the day on Friday at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit

  • With some minor upgrades and test items to look at, Friday’s running was concentrated on gaining a greater understanding of the W14 and development direction.
  • In the hotter, day-time conditions, FP1 work looked at the changes to the floor and rear wing along with understanding tyre behaviour; George was fifth fastest with Lewis sixth.
  • FP2 saw a mix of single-lap performance runs with long running later in the session, as the Team evaluated set-up changes to address balance limitations.
  • George was fifth fastest in the second session, while Lewis finished 11th.

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George Russell

We gathered plenty of data to go through tonight. We will be aiming to maximise the package we have got and get the set-up in the sweet spot. As much as we would love to, given all the hard work everyone is putting in, we know we won’t find one second overnight. Red Bull are clearly out in front, but we are learning lots about our car. These learnings will help us in both the short and medium-term. As is always the case in practice sessions too, we’re not sure what power modes everyone was running so we will know more tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton

I struggled in both sessions today, but we completed the run programme we had and tried to learn as much as possible. We will continue to go into the details overnight and focus on improving the balance of the car to make it easier to drive. It’s a tough car to drive but I know everyone is working so hard at the factory. It won’t be solved overnight and will take some time, so we just have to be patient and give it everything we can here at the track.

Andrew Shovlin

After Bahrain, we came here with realistic expectations. While the team back in the UK is working hard on developing us to a better place, our focus has been to maximise the potential of what we currently have. There were a couple of scheduled upgrades that look to be working OK but while taking us in the right direction, they are not a huge step. The sessions themselves went smoothly; we were struggling with the front end in the first session and may have over-corrected for the second session. Nevertheless, we’ve got plenty of information to pick through to work out the setup for tomorrow. The pace when we get the lap together didn’t look too bad, but the car hasn’t been easy enough to drive so that’s something we’ll look to improve tomorrow ahead of qualifying.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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