It was a solid start to the weekend for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team as the W13 showed better Friday pace around the banked corners of Zandvoort as both drivers led the field in FP1, with George Russell going quickest overall.
The team completed set-up comparisons across both cars to maximise learning and fine-tune car balance. George ran the FIA mirror test item for part of FP1, Lewis having done so in Spa.
With just 0.3s separating the top five in FP2, Lewis Hamilton finished P3 and George Russell P5.
‘This is a lot better than my Sunday last week and better than the Friday too. It’s been a decent start to the weekend, we’ve landed in a much sweeter sport with the car, just being a very different track. It’s still a work in progress, we aren’t that far behind which is great to see and the car doesn’t feel too bad so we’ve got to keep chipping away. This track is a lot more aggressive on the tyres and we could feel some bouncing here and there but if we can make some progress overnight, which we normally do, then let’s see what’s possible tomorrow.’
‘The car’s working better than this time last week and it’s going to be close tomorrow, McLaren will be up there and Aston Martin too. We know qualifying is our weak point and the race will come towards us – our race pace is looking pretty strong – but you’ve got to be starting in the right position. It was tricky out there because the timing screens were down so we couldn’t see where our long run pace was definitively but we know it’s in a relatively good spot. We’re closer on Friday than we’ve been in a while so that’s promising for tomorrow. The DRS on the banking is pretty cool, it’s incredible how much grip you get with this banking and on turn 3 here, you throw the car in and it just grips – it’s a great feeling.’
‘The car has been a lot easier to balance here than in Spa and we look to be in a better place in terms of pace; we’re still missing a bit on single lap and long run but the gaps are a lot better than last week. The sessions were a bit messy with a few red flags but we managed to tick off our test items and have a decent idea where we are going with the car spec for tomorrow. Neither driver has the balance where they want it yet and both felt the car was a little easier to drive in the morning. In the afternoon, we were understeering in some places and lacking stability in others. Not major issues but ones we are going to need to put right overnight if we plan on giving Red Bull and Ferrari any trouble tomorrow.’