Positive Friday nets top-five starting spots for Sunday
- Lewis Hamilton qualified third and George Russell fifth for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
- The sprint format weekend saw the solitary hour of practice before qualifying commenced on Friday evening.
- Both cars showed encouraging pace in FP1, with the updated floor the team has brought to the Circuit of the Americas performing as expected.
- In qualifying, Lewis looked strong throughout, finishing Q1 as the fastest driver and Q2 in P3.
- George was less happy with the balance of his car but progressed through each stage to make it into the top-10 shootout.
- Both drivers improved on their final efforts with Lewis heading the second row and missing out on pole by just 0.139s. George secured P5, a further 0.217s behind.
- Attention now turns to Saturday’s standalone sprint format and the first opportunity of the weekend to score points.
I have to say a big thank you to everyone back at the factory. They have been pushing so hard to improve our car and we have taken a step closer to the front this weekend. I know everyone is working flat out for that and I appreciate all the efforts. Unfortunately today, we weren’t quite at the very front, but we will give it another shot tomorrow.
I love being in the United States! It’s such a beautiful country and this circuit is just incredible. It is definitely one of my favourites. It has a legendary layout, it’s bumpy, and all the drivers find it very tricky. Each section is an incredible challenge. I hope tomorrow we can fight for P1 again. I’ll be giving it my best shot and with this crowd, I think anything is possible.
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It’s been a really challenging day. I’ve been off the pace, and I’ve not been able to identify why. I can definitely feel the improvements we’ve made with the update, but it’s been a strange Friday. I’ll put it on my shoulders though as the driver; I just need to work on finding out why I’ve not been as quick as I think we can be.
I’m pretty pleased with P5 as at some points it looked like we may not have even made it through to Q3. My final lap was a reasonable effort; I made a small mistake at turn one which probably cost me one more position on the grid. Turning to tomorrow, we can be encouraged. With the exception of Qatar, the Sprint Shootout on Saturday morning tends to go better for us. I will take all those positives and work on finding some more pace tonight.
Sprint races are always difficult with the limited practice time we have. It’s particularly challenging to try and bring an update kit into one. Going through the data, the upgraded floor looks to be giving us what we hoped for, and the drivers are feeling a benefit. That is encouraging.
In terms of the on track running, Lewis has had a relatively straightforward day. We thought at times that we had a chance of pole position and in the end, it was pretty close. Unfortunately, he couldn’t squeeze any more out of it on his final effort but still took a strong P3. George had a tougher day in terms of the single lap work. He chipped away at it but getting through the first two parts of qualifying was stressful. Fortunately his lap in Q3 was a solid effort and he can do a lot from P5 on the grid.
The long runs of both drivers looked good this morning in FP1. It’s hard to know what fuel loads everyone was running with this format, but we’re optimistic we can race well. We were managing to keep the tyre temperatures under control and that’s going to be the key to good long run pace on Sunday.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team