Mercedes completed a constructive Friday of set-up, fuel, and tyre evaluations at the new-look Silverstone with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher fifth and sixth fastest in the standings.
However, the team from Brackley know that Friday results have flattered them in the past, and that qualifying will give a better indication of their performance relative to their rivals.
Rosberg, who again out-paced his much more experienced teammate, said the car had improved since Mercedes’ mediocre outing in Spain two weeks ago, and also had praise for the new arena section.
“It’s been a decent start today and we have been able to get on top of many of our problems from Valencia,” he said. “We achieved some good set-up work to optimise the aero package.
“It’s not easy to understand and find the optimum so it was good to make progress there and I think that we’ve found a good direction. Our pace this afternoon was reasonable and we seem to be getting the most out of the car.
“I like the changes that they have made to the circuit here and it’s a great track to drive.”
Schumacher is wary of drawing any conclusions about the performance of the MGP W01 before tomorrow’s sessions, but the seven-time world champion did not sound overly enthusiastic about the new arena section.
“It was quite a reasonable Friday which went according to our expectations and it looks as if our updates have helped. Saying that, it looked similar in Valencia on Friday so I prefer to see what more we will find out tomorrow.
“The new part of the circuit is certainly interesting. It’s very fluid and fast but there is no overtaking possibility which is a bit of pity for me. The bump at Abbey is tricky, a lot of the drivers had to really work their steering wheel, so it is likely that this will be discussed more deeply in the drivers briefing today.”
Ross Brawn shared Schumacher’s cautious evaluation of Mercedes’ Friday performance. “We’ve had a positive day but then we have had good Fridays before,” he said. “The car is not too bad and the refinements that we have made to our updates seemed to have solved the temperature issues that we faced in Valencia. This is really a consolidation weekend for us where our focus is on the basics of tyres, fuel and set-up.
“Nico and Michael were reasonably happy today and our pace on high fuel looked good. It was tricky this afternoon with the gusty wind making it a bit edgy for the drivers and giving variable data but we have a lot of information to look at this evening.
“Silverstone is a great venue and it’s nice to be at a race which our staff can attend and enjoy.”