Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team still has learning to do at the Hungaroring this weekend after the rain in second practice on Friday prevented them from running a changed set-up on their W11.
The reigning World Champion made the most of the morning conditions on Friday to post the fastest time ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, but heavy rain prevented any meaningful running in the afternoon, the Briton completing just one installation lap before calling it a day.
“We got everything done that we needed to in the first session,” said Hamilton. “The car felt good out there in FP1 although there was still some work to do, so we made some changes for the second session – then it rained, so we’ve still got learning to do tomorrow.
“The wet conditions in FP2 didn’t really leave us with a lot to do, so we just completed an installation lap on the Intermediate tyres. This is such a great track to drive in the dry, but it’s very tricky in the wet and it felt quite low grip out there today.”
Hamilton is expecting a tough Qualifying session to come on Saturday, with a number of teams looking particularly strong around the Hungaroring, and he also believes Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to be in contention.
“Looking ahead to Qualifying tomorrow, I think it is going to be a lot closer as it’s not such a power-dependent circuit,” he said. “I’m hoping for a tighter pack, it’d be great to see the Renaults doing well, the McLarens are doing a fantastic job, as are the Racing Points, it’s really exciting to see.
“We also expect Red Bull to be strong, so I anticipate a tough battle with them.”
Team-mate Bottas ended both sessions in second place, the Finn completing five laps in the wet conditions in the afternoon to add to the thirty-seven laps he finished in the morning.
The Finn felt positive about the feeling of his car after the morning, with the W11 having a good balance aside from a little bit of understeer, and although running was limited in the afternoon, he was still able to get an understanding of how the car worked in the tricky, low-grip conditions.
“The car didn’t feel too bad in the dry today in FP1,” said Bottas. “It seemed like we were in a good place balance-wise, although I was struggling with a bit of understeer but that can be fixed, and I think it wasn’t a bad start.
“Obviously, it would have been nice to get some more practice laps in during the afternoon, fine-tuning the balance more, but the conditions were the same for everyone. The grip level was pretty low in FP2 in the wet. I got to get a feel for the balance in those conditions and I tried both the Inter and Wet tyres. They both felt pretty similar.
“It looks like we’ll see more rain this weekend so I’m sure we can keep working on the car and doing a better job, before qualifying and the race.”