It was a positive first day of practice for George Russell and Lewis Hamilton ahead of the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.
FP1 saw Lewis finish in P1 and George in P2, focusing on data collection and conducting set-up experiments ahead of next season.
George secured P2 and Lewis P4 during the twilight running in FP2, with more performance still to find for the W13 ahead of the weekend.
Abu Dhabi is Lewis’ 200th race weekend driving for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, the most of any driver with a single constructor in F1 history.
‘We had a very strong day in terms of what we’ve learned, given this is one of the last opportunities to gain learnings for the next season. With the test items that we ran during FP1, especially on my side of the garage, I’m looking forward to 2023 with what we’ve learned today. For FP2, the track changed completely with the temperature drop. The car felt fast, but I think Red Bull are ahead of us in terms of single lap pace and maybe even more so in the long runs. So, we have some work to do overnight, but compared to Ferrari our performance from what we can tell so far looks reasonable for this weekend. I’d like to think we’ll be able to fight for the top 3 in qualifying tomorrow and see where that can take us on Sunday. We will keep our heads down and put in the work overnight.’
‘FP1 felt good today, which is a positive outlook for next year. In FP2, the car balance was a bit off, following some set-up changes between the sessions, so we will need to make some updates overnight but otherwise, we’re relatively competitive. Tyre management for qualifying tomorrow will be tough, in FP1 you could do a slow run to get the tyres working and in FP2 it took much longer to get them in the right window, so it’s a little bit like rolling a dice. We hope we can be competitive with our race pace this weekend, but still need to understand better where we are compared to the other teams. We will work hard overnight and hopefully we can be in the fight for the front. A big thank you to everyone in the factory and here at the track who have put in so much dedication and hard work to throughout the year.’
‘It’s been a busy day. We had quite a few test items squeezed into the first session, which meant we didn’t have quite the normal focus on race preparation. That work shifted to the afternoon session and whilst we had a straightforward time in terms of reliability, we’re lacking a little pace both single lap and long run. Unusually, the degradation looked higher than for our competitors, so we’ll dig into that to work out what is causing it; that’s our biggest concern right now. Clearly a bit to do, but the gaps don’t look massive so hopefully we can put ourselves in contention if we can find a few small steps in the right direction.’