Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton finished P3 and George P7 in FP1 after evaluating new performance updates and completing data collection for 2023.
An extended FP2 session with 90 minutes of running was dedicated to tyre testing for next season, and saw Lewis finish in P8 and George in P13.
The team introduced upgrades to the W13 with a focus on learning for 2023. The updates performed are in line with expectations and will continue to be used for the rest of the weekend.
‘Everything went to plan today. I’m super grateful to everyone back at the factory for working so hard and bringing us upgrades for this weekend. It’s been an incredibly tough year for us, and the team has continuously been pushing. Everyone kept their heads down and it feels like we are progressing with the car’s performance. FP2 didn’t give us any real clues on our performance because of the tyre testing, but FP1 felt quite good. We will hopefully make some changes tonight and we’ll find out tomorrow, where exactly we stand – but it doesn’t feel like we’re too far off. The tyre test was a fun experiment, you don’t know what to expect when you go out there and there’s always a different balance, because the tyres are acting in different ways each time you go out. I’ve been trying to get into the groove and trying to feel what those differences are. In previous years, it was much more predictable – with the current car you have to build much more up to it and then you try to store your learnings.’
‘Definitely a unique FP2 session with the tyre test, but good to learn and understand what tyres we will get for next year. Everyone was on slightly different compounds so let’s see what we can take away from it in terms of our learning. The upgrades we’ve brought to the car felt okay so far. FP1 was an odd session today, with some teams looking unexpectedly fast and some other teams that weren’t as quick as we expected them to be. With the different FP2 format we don’t know yet, what the packing order will be but so far our car is feeling quite strong, which is promising. I’d like to hope that we will be ahead of the midfield this weekend. We’re going to work as hard as possible overnight and trying to make sure we will have a fast car.’
‘We’ve had a pretty solid day all in all. We ran the update kit on both cars in the morning and the data from that looks in line with expectations. The balance has been tricky due to the wind, but I don’t think we’re alone struggling with that. There’s also a fair bit of tyre overheating on the long runs that will be tricky to manage on Sunday, but it seems like everyone is suffering with the same. We had the tyre test in the afternoon, which was interesting; the cooler blankets are going to change the way you approach qualifying and race strategy and the warm-up was a bit tricky, but the tyres themselves look to be a step in the right direction in terms of consistency and handling. The wind is set to get stronger over the next two days, which is probably going to be the biggest challenge of the weekend, but we’re off to a reasonable start and if we can find a bit of improvement on the balance, we can hopefully be in a position to fight for podiums.’