Lewis Hamilton described Friday practice for the British Grand Prix as “not a disaster” for his Mercedes Formula 1 team after he and teammate Valtteri Bottas struggled with balance-related issues.

The reigning six-times world champion ended the day fifth in the timesheets and 0.307s off the benchmark time set by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in an FP2 session that was truncated by a big crash for Red Bull driver Alex Albon.

Hamilton was also four-tenths adrift of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the first session as Mercedes’ performance appeared to be hampered by the hotter temperatures and niggling balance problems.

But with conditions set to be much cooler on Saturday, Hamilton is confident his team can turn things around in time for qualifying.

“It was quite a difficult day to be honest, I think it’s always windy here which is a good thing about this track, wind in different directions, but it made it tricky today with the car,” Hamilton said when reflecting on his day.

“The balance is not as good as I’d like. We’ll just work on it tonight and see if we can figure it out. It’s not a disaster but it’s definitely been a hard day of driving.

“Just the balance was not right, so I was just not feeling comfortable in general, but we went back out and I think the tyres weren’t as good as the first ones,” he added. “That was the main reason.

“But we’ll work through it, we’ve got great engineers, that’s the great thing about this team is we continue to dive deep into the details and hopefully make some good changes overnight.”

In contrast, Bottas struggled more in FP1 as he finished a full second off the pace, before improving to P3 in the afternoon.

“I think the first session was a bit more tricky balance wise, so there’s obviously still work to do, but in FP2, it was actually not a bad feeling,” Bottas explained.

“The gaps are quite small and normally we are able to make some good steps for qualifying. So, I’m not too worried, because the overall feeling is quite good.

“Racing Point and Red Bull they seem quite strong as well, but it’s going to be completely different conditions tomorrow, with a lot less track temperature and the wind is going to change direction completely and that normally has quite a big effect on this track.

“For sure we had some overheating, but I don’t know. I’m just not too worried – we’re just going to focus on our things tonight, see how much more performance we can squeeze out and hopefully, it’s going to be enough.”

 

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