Lewis Hamilton ended fastest in second practice session at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday, with the Briton happy to start the weekend around one of his weaker tracks on the front foot.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver had finished third fastest behind Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen in the morning session but hit the front in the afternoon, setting a time of 1:33.385 to lead team-mate Valtteri Bottas by just under two-tenths of a second.
Hamilton spent some time working on the balance of his W09 during the two sessions, but he was pleased to start the weekend in a positive manner as he bids to further extend his forty-point advantage over Vettel in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Sochi has been one of the weaker circuits for me in the past, particularly last year,” said Hamilton. “So I’ve done a lot of work to understand the balance and see where I can improve to try and rectify this – today has been good in that sense.
“From every race we’re learning more and more and particularly the last few races have helped us to really gauge which foot we need to start on for the weekend.”
Hamilton hopes for another good day for Mercedes on Saturday, with the reigning World Champion encouraged that the team can still bring updates to the W09 this late in the season despite already turning some of their focus to work on the 2019 car.
“We’ve brought more upgrades this weekend; there’s so much work going on at home and it’s just really encouraging when you come to a race and you get an upgrade, knowing that this late in the season we’re also already working on next year’s car – it motivates me to get the best out of everything,” said the Briton.
“It’s been a good day for us, so let’s hope that it continues tomorrow.”