Both Mercedes AMG Motorsport believe the new track surface will play a key role at this weekend’s British Grand Prix after trying the new asphalt for the first time in practice on Friday.
The Silverstone circuit had a new surface relayed since last years race and both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were impressed with the Finn describing it as “very enjoyable to drive.”
Bottas was ahead of his team-mate in both session on Friday, finishing second in Free Practice 1 before topping the timing sheet in the second session.
“I’ve had a good day from the get-go, both in terms of my own performance and the set-up of the car.
“It’s always a nice feeling when you start a weekend like that.
“The track is less bumpy than last year which is nice; they did a good job on the asphalt and it was very enjoyable to drive.
“The new surface is quite grippy, but sometimes you can lose the grip very suddenly on new tarmac.”
Hamilton described Friday as not “the easiest of days” and ran off the track in the morning session but despite this was pleased to see that the car is up there on pace.
“It’s been quite windy, quite gusty out there, so it hasn’t been the easiest of days, but we were up there nonetheless, and it looks like we’ll be in the fight.
“The new track surface is better on the straights, especially between Turn 4 and Turn 6 where it was pretty bad before.
“It’s still bumpy on the exit of Turn 7 and towards Copse, but after that it’s nice and smooth through Maggotts and Becketts and down the Hanger straight.
“The asphalt is very smooth which makes it tricky to get the tyres to work, they’re in and out of the window, and the gusty winds didn’t make it easy.”
The home favourite was not the only driver to be caught on by the wind and Mercedes chief technical director James Allison admitted the wind would have made it harder for the drivers to post a competitive lap time.
“It was a tricky day in some ways because the wind, as ever at Silverstone on this open old airfield, was strong and gusty and made it very difficult to put a single lap together; we saw the whole grid having little excursions onto the grass.”