Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Andrew Shovlin feels the times from practice “flatter” the team ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were one-two in both sessions on Friday at the Suzuka International Racing Course.
Shovlin described the day as “straightforward” but is aware of the change of conditions expected for the rest of the weekend.
“It’s been a fairly straightforward day and happily the conditions stayed dry which allowed us to complete all the usual race preparation work.
“Both drivers are quite happy with the balance and the pace seems reasonably strong.
“However, it looks like we could face quite different conditions in qualifying and race.”
Rain is expected for qualifying while the conditions are expected to be hotter on Sunday and Shovlin admits that it is hard to predict exactly how the car will behave in the different conditions.
“We’re expecting some rain overnight and the wind looks strong tomorrow which could make things tricky for the drivers in qualifying.
“Then for Sunday we’re expecting hot and sunny conditions.
“We’ve got good data on the tyres from today but it is never easy to predict exactly how they will behave on a much warmer track.”
Hamilton was four tenths quicker than Bottas in both sessions with Daniel Ricciardo in the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing getting the closest to them, albeit six tenths of a second behind but Shovlin feels they still need to find more time as the results flattered Mercedes.
“The headline times from today do flatter us but we can still find some time working on the balance both on a single lap and a long run.”