Lewis Hamilton was full of smiles after a successful FP2 for Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix. George Russell and Hamilton put down the second and third fastest times on the timesheet respectively, with the latter reporting much reduced porpoising.
The Spanish Grand Prix brings a host of upgrades across the grid and Mercedes is no different with the team introducing different front wing end plates, rear corner bodywork additions, and a number of changes to the floor to reduce porpoising.
Hamilton was questioned after the practice session as to how he was feeling about the car so far:
“It’s positive — super happy with the progress so a big, big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory for not giving up and for continuing to push,” the 7-time world champion told the press. “We’re not the quickest, yet, but I think we’re on our way.
“It’s the first time I’ve driven down the straight without bouncing. We still have some bouncing, but it’s way better. So it’s something to eke out a bit of the potential in the car.”
On top of this, Hamilton expects to be able to bring the fight to Red Bull and Ferrari who are currently leading the 2022 Constructor Championship:
“It’s still tough out there with the car but it’s much nicer than it’s been before. Really grateful for those upgrades, now we need to fine-tune them into the next session, overnight lots of data to go over, try and position the car… I think we can get it into an even better place for tomorrow, so then hopefully we can tackle the heels of the guys up ahead.”
Teammate George Russell wasn’t quite as optimistic as he questioned what power modes the competition was in:
“I see no reason why we can’t be as far away from the front as we showed, if not a little bit closer,” Russell said. “But there’s differences with power modes and stuff — I think Ferrari and Red Bull were in their lowest power mode, so they’ve got a bit on us there. I don’t know, it’s tricky.
“Degradation was massive for everybody and that’s going to be what makes or breaks this race on Sunday, so that’s going to be what we focus on tonight.”
Russell is always doubtful after how his practice sessions went in Miami. He was the fastest during practice, but qualifying and the race went a very different way for the British driver:
“I don’t know, to be honest, because in Miami we were quickest on Friday and here we’re second. So let’s see. The car is definitely reacting differently — we’ve got different limitations this time. We definitely don’t have the porpoising on the straight, which is good, but we’re still experiencing a little bit here and there in the corners, which ultimately you need to dial out.
“I think Red Bull still look very, very strong — they look like the team to be reckoned with at the moment. We need to go through the data.”