Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a good day but there’s still work to do”

2 Mins read
Credit: LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton ended only third fastest in second practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday, with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team falling foul to track limits on more than one occasion.

Hamilton, who comes to the Circuit of the Americas six points behind title rival Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, was edged into second place in the morning session behind his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, but he fell behind both Sergio Pérez and Lando Norris in the afternoon after having lap times deleted for exceeding track limits.

Despite this, Hamilton feels it was a good day for Mercedes, although he acknowledges there is work to do to improve the car before Saturday’s Qualifying session.

“Generally, it’s been a good day but there’s still work to do,” said Hamilton.  “The first session was really good, but I made some changes for FP2 and I wasn’t as happy with the car.

“The pace wasn’t bad, but I think we lost a bit of ground to everyone, so we need to dig into the data tonight and figure out why. The surface here feels rougher and that means it’s a struggle to keep the temperature out of the tyres, so there’s more degradation than we’ve experienced before.

“It’s been a productive day so we have plenty of findings that we should be able to navigate well and improve for tomorrow.”

“We can still have a good race from wherever I end up starting” – Valtteri Bottas

Team-mate Bottas goes into Saturday’s running knowing he will drop five places on the grid following yet another grid penalty for an engine change, but the Finn felt confident about his pace on Friday.

Bottas topped the morning session at the Circuit of the Americas but was only fourth in the afternoon, but he was primarily focusing on the long-run pace as he knows he will need to make overtakes during Sunday’s race due to his penalty.

The Finn felt the performance of the car was not as good in the afternoon as he also struggled with grip levels, but he knows the important sessions are still to come and if he is to be a contender in Qualifying and the race, he will need to work on the set-up of his W12.

“I think we have a good car here and even with my five-place grid penalty, we can still have a good race from wherever I end up starting,” said Bottas.  “Today showed it is pretty close at the front but it’s still all to play for.

“Because of the penalty, the main thing for me was focusing on the long-run pace and that’s what we did, especially in FP2. There’s still a lot of work to do with the set-up, as it wasn’t easy to drive and, in some places, the track has lost quite a lot of grip, so the balance was inconsistent.

“But we’ll look at the best options tonight and see what we can do, because I will be racing other cars and need to overtake if I want to make it to the podium and fight for the win.”

Valtteri Bottas will take a five-place grid penalty in Austin for another engine change – Credit: LAT Images
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