The opening day of the Hungarian Grand Prix was an almost perfect one for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, with Valtteri Bottas ending the day on top with team-mate Lewis Hamilton a whisker behind in second.
Bottas who is racing for his Mercedes career, had an excellent opening day in the scorching conditions, the Finnish driver was second after the opening session before topping the time sheets in Free Practice Two.
World champion Lewis Hamilton also had a strong opening day, ending Friday only +0.029s behind his team-mate but more importantly nearly three tenths ahead of Max Verstappen.
Mercedes haven’t had too many session lockouts so far this season, so the opening day at the Hungaroring will leave them feeling pretty good. However the joy may not last long with the weather expected to take a dramatic turn heading into qualifying, with heavy rain predicted.
Mercedes Track Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin is encouraged seeing the Silver Arrows at the top of the time sheets but is aware that with rain everything could change.
“We got off to a fairly difficult start on the Hard tyre this morning as the grip and balance just weren’t there. As the day went on we seemed to improve in terms of the timesheets, although we’re still finding the balance quite tricky.
“It may be that it’s the same for everyone, the track is at 60°C after all and the tyres are getting really hot which is making the long runs quite difficult. Overall, it is encouraging to see both cars at the top of the timesheets but with a risk of rain it may be a very difficult challenge tomorrow so we cannot take anything for granted.”