It was a tricky and experimental Friday for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team in Budapest, as George Russell went fifth quickest in the first session of the day while Lewis Hamilton took P7 under blue skies at the Hungaroring.
Setup changes ahead of FP2 made the W13 a handful in the latter session with both drivers suffering poor grip and overall instability.
George managed P8 and Lewis P11 in FP2, with Lewis suffering damage to his floor which compromised the end of his session.
Going into the event, the team experimented with a redesigned Halo profile, a new rear wing end-plate and an updated rear wing beam with increased camber.
The forecast looks mixed for the remainder of the weekend, with rain expected for qualifying before a dry but cooler race on Sunday.
“It definitely hasn’t been our smoothest Friday this season, a bit of a strange one because we think it’s going to be wet for qualifying tomorrow and then different again on Sunday. We tried quite a few things with the car and used today as a test session so while it’s been a tough day, it’s probably been a productive one. Today was about gathering lessons long-term rather than maximising our lap times, but we were further behind than we probably expected with a couple of issues here and there. Tomorrow is going to be a totally new day and Sunday, we’ll be in a different place too.”
“The car was a struggle today, it’s crazy how it swings from track to track and tonight we’ll be working on setup to try and get the car working. At the moment, it’s a little loose and not doing what we want it to do. Not much has changed since last week, I’m still the same driver! But for some reason at this track, the car isn’t working as well. In the glimpses where it was working, we were still down a second which was actually similar to last week. I didn’t get much chance of a long run at the end because I sustained some damage to my floor and lost a lot of downforce. It’s going to be a tough weekend, but we’ll give it everything.”
“The morning session was reasonable but we’d made some changes going into the afternoon on both cars that look to have taken us in the wrong direction. That’s easy enough to undo for tomorrow, and it looks like we are going to get some rain so hopefully we can recover the situation but other than finding out what not to do, the afternoon wasn’t a lot of use. To further add to matters, Lewis picked up some damage on his low fuel run which we couldn’t repair in time so by the end of the session, the car was very difficult and very inconsistent. The weather for the rest of the weekend looks like a wet day tomorrow followed by a dry race but in cooler conditions than we had today. Whilst we’re disappointed with the pace in the afternoon, we’ve hopefully picked up some useful learning over the day. We’ve got a busy night ahead in the garage and the engineering office to make sure we can gather up the situation for tomorrow. Qualifying is more important here than at most tracks so that’s our focus; we know the car works well when it’s in the right window so that’s what we’ll be trying to achieve.”