The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team finished Friday practice in third (Nico) and fourth (Lewis) positions this afternoon at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
- The drivers completed a total of 118 laps today, more than a full race distance each
- The focus of the programme was purely on set-up work and tyre evaluation with no new parts at this penultimate race
- This afternoon, Lewis ran a single long run on option tyres while Nico ran prime then option for his high-fuel runs
|Drivers||No.||Chassis No.||Practice 1||Practice 2|
|Lewis Hamilton||10||F1 W04 / 02||21 laps||1:38.979||P6||38 laps||1:37.958||P4|
|Nico Rosberg||9||F1 W04 / 03||21 laps||1:38.657||P5||38 laps||1:37.785||P3|
|Weather||Foggy in the morning, clearing to warm and sunny|
|Temperatures||Air: 15-26 °C||Track: 18-32 °C|
First of all, I want to say that it’s great to be back here in America – this track and city are just such a beautiful place to be racing, and especially with the support from all the fans we saw out there today. The circuit was quite green today, which made it pretty slippery out there as we are using the two hardest tyre compounds this weekend. After we changed the chassis yesterday, the car felt better to drive, particularly on the long run when it was pretty consistent, so that’s a positive for me. The option tyre is working well for a long stint, which may open up some possibilities for us with race strategy. It was a pretty straightforward day although we still have some work to do to nail the set-up because it’s not quite there yet. But all of us in the team are focused on ending the season on a high and taking that foundation with us into the winter.
That was a crazy start to the weekend with the fog and the helicopter, which forced us to stay in the pits for quite a while this morning. This afternoon we had a very good session. The car felt like it was on rails and I was very happy with the balance. I hope we can give the Red Bulls something to think about this weekend and I will be pushing 100 per cent for another podium. It’s really difficult to get it right with the tyres here as the track surface is very smooth and the compounds are very hard. Therefore the tyres are lasting a long time and a lot of people will try to manage only one stop on Sunday. So it will be an exciting weekend here in Texas for the fans and it was good to see so many people out there already today.
Everybody in our sport knows how important it is for us to have a strong presence in America and today once again showed that this circuit can be the perfect platform. It’s an excellent facility here in Austin and it was really pleasing to see so many enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans out in the grandstands. On track, it was a fairly straightforward and trouble-free day of running, once we finally got underway after the fog cleared. The track and tyres seemed pretty consistent; the biggest problems came from the gusting wind which was causing a few problems. Overall, the car seems to be in reasonable shape. We completed our programme and particularly the important high-fuel running, and things looked pretty sensible all round.
It was a positive, productive day. The drivers completed their programmes and the timesheets suggested we are where we would expect to be. We did good long runs with both cars, so we have plenty of data to analyse. Now we need to work well overnight and see where we end up tomorrow when it counts in qualifying.