Friday, 25 July 2014

Mercedes Friday Practice notes Hungary - Wolff happy to be back after 'short break'

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)

The Mercedes AMG F1 Team had a great Friday in Hungary as Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Nico Rosberg once again lead the way for the Brackley based outfit. With the air and track temperatures soaring the Silver Arrows picked up where they left off last time in Germany. The team head into this weekend's final race before the Summer break having won nine of the ten Grand Prix in 2014. 

Speaking following the today's session Lewis Hamilton said:

'We struggled with poor grip on track today. I don’t know if that’s down to the tyres or the track itself but it was quite bad throughout both sessions. It’s going to be important to get a good grid position tomorrow as it will be difficult to follow cars on this track and it’s always tough to overtake here. We have some work to do overnight to ensure we get the best setup for the weekend as we’re not fully comfortable with the car just yet, but our race pace looked okay. We’ll have to look through the data to really know where we stand.'

Nico Rosberg expected that due to the characteristics of the Hungaroring that Red Bull Racing would have closed the gap significantly this weekend saying:

'I was a bit surprised that we had the quickest car here today as I expected the Red Bulls to have gotten a bit closer again, so that’s a really encouraging start to the weekend. The car feels great and is super quick in the corners, so overall I’m quite happy. I definitely still need to find some time and there is some setup work for me and my engineers to do tonight if we want to achieve that. But I’m confident that we can make it happen. Qualifying will be crucial here, as overtaking is not easy at this great track. We’ll work hard as always during the evening and see what happens tomorrow.'

Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff was back at work today after breaking his shoulder, collar bone, wrist and elbow during a Mercedes team building cycling trip in Austria earlier this week. Speaking after today's session Wolff commented:

'It was great to re-join the team today after my short “break” in Vienna! There was no place I wanted to be more than with the guys and girls here in Hungary today and it felt good to be back at work. In that respect, it was great to see Lewis and Nico performing strongly on both single lap pace and over the long runs. This is a demanding circuit for many aspects of the car and we will still have work to do overnight to dial both set-ups into the circuit. But the initial indication on the relative performance was good. Now we need to properly analyse the situation in order to make sure we are in strong shape for tomorrow.'

Mercedes executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe, who was also caught up in the cycling accident commented:

'We enjoyed two trouble-free sessions today with both cars and had plenty of laps in which to do our homework for tomorrow and Sunday. Generally, the grip levels on track were low and we had to work to get the cars balance to the drivers’ liking. But, as always on a Friday evening, there is still some margin for improvement here. This circuit traditionally sees among the highest track temperatures of the year and once again today they peaked at 57 degrees centigrade. In these conditions, the tyres were holding up well, which is a positive indication for the race on Sunday.'

The team will be hoping to maintain their advantage as they head into the weekend's on track action.

© Ben Johnston 2014

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