SportF1Hamilton: "Red Bull keeps 6 or 7 tenths in...

Hamilton: "Red Bull keeps 6 or 7 tenths in its pocket"

After a complicated Belgian Grand Prix , in which Hamilton retired on the first lap after a spectacular accident with Alonso and where Russell finished fourth, Mercedes went to the Netherlands with many doubts.

There was uncertainty in the team about how the indecipherable W13 would react on the tarmac at Zandvoort but, surprisingly, the eight-time world champion’s car felt immediately at ease.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton closed the first session of this Friday (FP1) in first and second place, while in the afternoon the two drivers signed the third and fifth time when the seven-time world champion was only 72 thousandths of Charles Leclerc.

With the first day of track action over, Mercedes will have to confirm that in both qualifying and the race, but Russell admitted there were some positive signs.

“The car works better, there is no doubt about that, but tomorrow it will be a close qualifying. I think the McLaren will be fast, as will the Aston Martin. We are aware that a fast lap is our weak point, but we can redeem ourselves in the race”.

“Obviously it will be crucial to qualify in a good position because it’s impossible to fight for first or second if you start from the third row here.”

During the first minutes of the afternoon session, the teams and drivers faced an unusual problem. Suddenly, the monitors went haywire, complicating the normal work schedule.

“It was a bit of a tricky session because the time monitor wasn’t working and we couldn’t understand our pace in the long runs. Now we’ll try to collect as much data as possible, but we’re in a relatively good situation.”

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Given that, don’t rule out Russell or Hamilton for qualifying. But the young man wanted to calm expectations.

“I think what happened in Hungary was unique [he took pole there]. Our rivals didn’t perform at their best that day, while we did an incredible job and everything went well. I would be surprised to get pole in Holland, but we are very close “.

Lewis Hamilton was also satisfied at the end of Friday. If in Spa the Englishman seemed disconsolate on Friday (and remember what he said on Saturday), in Zandvoort he has smiled again.

“It’s been a good start to the weekend and I feel much more comfortable with the car. We’ve made progress on a completely different track to Spa. We’re not that far away.”

One of the weak points of the Mercedes W13 is its ability to quickly bring the tires up to optimum temperature, a flaw that is reflected in qualifying.

“This track is very aggressive for the tyres, so we will try to use it to get the tires up to temperature quickly. However, it is too early to say what will happen, but in any case, we were much closer than in the past. Tonight we will work hard to solve some problems, but if we continue to make progress it will be great.”

Before saying goodbye to the microphones, Hamilton wanted to talk about the complicated Friday that Max Verstappen has had to live.

“He had a bit of a tough day and missed most of the first session, but Red Bull have about six or seven tenths in their pocket so it will be relatively easy for them.”

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