Lewis Hamilton after FP1&2: “We’re in the battle”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin give their comments on the French Grand Prix Free Practice 1&2.

A strong Friday showing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the Circuit Paul Ricard

  • Valtteri finished the first session of the day in P1 with Lewis just behind in P2.
  • In the second session, Valtteri and Lewis came home P2 and P3 respectively in the bright sunshine of Le Castellet.
  • Valtteri suffered front wing damage when running over the sausage kerbs at Turn 2 early in the first session, as did a number of drivers throughout the day.

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Valtteri Bottas

I have a lot better feeling than a couple of weeks ago, that’s for sure. We started the weekend on the front foot, everything felt OK and the car has been pretty fast so far. The balance is good, the tyres are working well, I’m confident with the car and I can trust the car – I think that’s the biggest difference from Baku. It’s going to be close between us and Red Bull, I’m sure they have lots more to come, but so do we.

Lewis Hamilton

It was quite a struggle out there, probably for everyone. I don’t know if it’s the track surface, the temperature or these inflated tyres – the pressures are higher than ever before – but we were all sliding around out there. We’ll be doing a lot of analysis tonight with the hope that it’s better for tomorrow but the times don’t look terrible and we’re in the battle, so that’s positive.

The Hard compound is the better-feeling tyre, it felt heavy-duty which is important with the temperatures here – the softer you go the worse it feels so I imagine the Hard tyre will be the one everyone wants to get onto in the race on Sunday.

Andrew Shovlin

It’s been a busy day trying to fit in a programme with low fuel work and decent length long runs but that’s always going to be the case with just one hour in each session. In terms of pace we look reasonable and getting a single lap out of the tyres has seemed easier than it was in Baku or Monaco. However, neither driver is totally satisfied with where we have the car, so we’ve got a bit of investigation to do overnight to try and understand how we can get the balance to be a bit more predictable.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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