During FP2, Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin executed a series of meticulous tests aimed at gaining a profound understanding of the critical issues anticipated for the upcoming event. These issues primarily revolved around the challenges related to tire warm-up and graining. In the midst of these trials, the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, found immense pleasure in maneuvering the high-performance W14 Formula 1 cars on the freshly-constructed Las Vegas street circuit.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, two titans of the Formula 1 world, embarked on their inaugural voyage on the challenging Las Vegas street circuit during the second practice session (FP2). The anticipation was palpable, especially after a brief FP1 session that lasted a mere ten minutes before an unfortunate incident involving Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari. Sainz’s car collided with a drain hole cover, resulting in significant damage and the swift cancellation of FP1.
The unexpected turn of events led to an extended 90-minute session for the drivers in FP2, granting them more time to explore the nuances of the newly-unveiled circuit. It was during this extended session that the Mercedes drivers showcased their remarkable skills and undeniable enthusiasm for the sport.
In spite of the challenges posed by tire warm-up and graining, the Mercedes duo appeared to relish every moment behind the wheel. Their evident joy and positive feedback added a layer of excitement to the already electrifying atmosphere of the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend.
The seven-time world champion, who finished in the ninth position, found time to indulge in a movie between the two practice sessions. Sharing his thoughts with Sky Sports F1, he expressed:
“We’re travelling at some serious speeds out there.
“It’s incredibly fast and it’s a lot of fun – I had so much fun today.
“I’m so glad we did get to run again. They did a great job to fix it and it was an interesting session.”
Russell, our teammate, secured the 12th position and provided a comparable review of his session. He remarked:
“It’s a very fast circuit, the highest top speeds of the year probably, and obviously racing at night is pretty spectacular.
“I think it is going to be an interesting race weekend.”
When discussing the tests conducted by the team to gain a deeper understanding of the issues, Shovlin provided a technical perspective on what is functioning well and where improvements are required. Additionally, he mentioned:
“It was good to get running again in FP2 and we were able to complete most of our programme. Ahead of the event, we’d identified warm-up and graining as being the most significant challenges that we would face. We ran through a few tests to today aimed at further understanding those issues.
“The track grip was evolving rapidly, which was helping the car balance come together through the session. We know we’ve got a few areas that we can look to improve in terms of that balance and long run pace too.
“It’s clearly a very tight field as is becoming the norm this year. Every little bit of performance we can find ahead of Qualifying is going to be useful. It’s also good to have a bit of time now to pick through the data ahead of FP3 this evening.
“Overall, we’ve got off to a decent start and we’ll hopefully be able to build on that as we go into Qualifying and the Grand Prix.”