It was a day of consistency on day one for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2021 as Valtteri Bottas went fastest in FP1, before his teammate Lewis Hamilton went fastest in FP2.
The team’s programme today focused on improving tyre and balance understanding on a range of short and long runs. While everyone involved was pleased with the times, there is still work to be done ahead of qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton Happy With Pace
‘It’s been a good start to the weekend, the track is awesome and our balance is similar to what we had in the last race. It looks close but I think we’ve got good pace – we understand the car and know which direction we need to go balance-wise. We made some tweaks along the way, I don’t know if the car got better through the session but there were definitely findings there and we’ll analyse the two sessions to hopefully have a better set-up for tomorrow. It’s amazing to see the progress that McLaren, Ferrari and Alpine are making, not just Red Bull, and that puts pressure on us,’ said Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas Focussed On Qualifying
Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas took pole last time out at Portimao, and is hungry to repeat that performance in Spain to help kickstart a season that has been stalling.
‘It was a solid day, the feeling in the car was not too bad and no massive balance issues so I’m fairly happy. On the soft tyre, getting both axles working straightaway for lap one is going to be key because the gaps will be so small. Tonight will be our usual process – fine-tune the set-up as best as we can because we know every millisecond is going to be crucial in qualifying. The whole field seems to be close and Ferrari looked strong today but we just need to focus on our performance and extract the maximum from this package,’ added Bottas.
Mercedes Overheating Issues Solved?
After experiencing overheating issues in Portugal, the team were concerned temperatures may impact their performance again this weekend, but the problem appears to be solved so far.
‘We’ve managed to do some good work today, both drivers have a decent balance and we look to be in a reasonable place on all compounds. Ahead of the weekend we were concerned that rear overheating would cause us more issues but things seem to be under control, even in the hotter conditions of the afternoon session. We still have work to do getting the best out of the tyre on low fuel as we didn’t find as much time as some but we have a good baseline to work from. Traffic was difficult today, it’s a short lap and it looked like Red Bull may have been affected by that more than ourselves so we’ll work on the assumption that they are very close on pace and we need to find everything we can overnight,’ concluded Andrew Shovlin.