Lewis Hamilton said it was a “strong blow” for Mercedes to be trailed by Red Bull at the end of Friday’s training session and will head into qualifying day at the Miami GP without much expectation.
Early signs look promising for the following Mercedes George Russell gave Hamilton a surprise one-two lead in Exercise Onealthough their timing is set when track conditions are at their best.
But Friday afternoon saw Mercedes’ difficulties return as Hamilton finished the seventh session, 0.928 seconds behind Max Verstappen’s lead time and behind Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris as well as two Ferraris and Reds. Bulls. Meanwhile, Russell ranked 15th.
“We’re not particularly fast and it’s a struggle out there,” Hamilton said Friday night.
“We were trying a lot of different things. P1 looked pretty good and then switched to P2 and the real speed came in – it was a hit in the heart.
“Sometimes it’s hard to do but that’s okay, we’ll keep working on it and we’ll regroup tonight and see if we can make some setup changes and get the car back on track. into a more comfortable position.”
He added: “I’m trying to stay positive about it and we’re working as hard as we can. It’s just that we’re dying, definitely need those upgrades.
“We just have to try to keep going for one more race and then hopefully we’ll start a new path in the next one.”
A year ago, Mercedes topped practice Friday at the inaugural Miami GP before Russell was knocked out in Q2 and Hamilton could only finish sixth in qualifying on Saturday.
And the seven-time world champion only hopes to feature in Q3 due to the difficulty he is facing with W14 this weekend.
“I have no expectations. The car that I just hope can put it in a better place tomorrow. I hope we can get into Q3 and if we can be in the middle of that top 10 then that’s fine. that’s great,” Hamilton said.
“Melbourne has the difference of day and night, it’s much better to drive there. Baku feels better here too. Maybe it’s because of the heat or maybe it’s because of the balance we have at the moment.
“I will always be optimistic and I will continue to hope that we can get the car in a better place tomorrow and maybe a few steps forward.
“But it looks like, other than last year, we’ve had big-scale races, overall it feels like we’re racing pretty much the same and that’s tough.”
Russell: We can still get ahead of Ferraris, Astons
Russell’s tough second session had a time when he complained that his car felt like it was on “tricycles” through the Second Turn.
The 25-year-old believes he and the team understand why he struggled with Friday’s soft-tire tests and remains hopeful that Mercedes can still take the lead over Ferraris and Aston Martins on race day. next.
“It’s a good return,” Russell said.
“If we do everything right, there’s no reason why we can’t be ahead of Ferrari and Aston Martin – that’s the goal.
“I think we’ve seen in these first four races, those three teams are really tight, so if it’s just wins and pole positions, it’s going to be interesting. But it’s true. good because it shows if we can do everything right, we can be rewarded and get ahead of them.
“I think we needed to make some improvements overnight. We knew we had potential because we saw that in FP1 and we saw it at the start of FP2, but for sure that’s the case. We just need to sort things out.”
Max: I always feel good | Perez: I’m not good at driving
Friday saw mixed fortunes for the two Red Bull drivers and the title rivals.
Verstappen, who had a six-point lead over Sergio Perez in the weekend’s impending championship title, dominated Exercise One until being usurped by Mercedes and Charles Leclerc late on laps, but still finishing ahead of bronze. his team a second.
The Dutchman then led Perez by nearly half a second in afternoon trading as he showed his power at the weekend.
“I thought it was a good day. At first I thought it got a bit used to the track with the new runway, I think it accelerated a lot throughout the day,” Verstappen said.
“I always feel comfortable in the car and we have a good balance.
“The most important thing is that today I think we had a good balance bike from the very beginning, so I feel very happy. There are still a few small things that we want to look at.”
Perez admits he needs to improve for the rest of the weekend.
“I didn’t have the best Friday but my lap was pretty bad as well when I was locked in the last corner,” Perez said.
“I think I have quite a few problems with my driving. I don’t think I drove well today, so if I could improve my driving and make myself a little more comfortable I would It will be fine.”
Leclerc issue on P2: I pushed too much
Leclerc finished third in both sessions Friday, but his afternoon run was cut 10 minutes early in the second session when he crashed into the fence after losing control in the seventh, bringing about the red flag.
Ferrari is running an upgraded deck and diffuser in Miami but the rear of the car was undamaged in the crash.
Leclerc said the collision was caused by pushing too hard and cast a failed tone about the chance of spinning in Red Bull on Sunday.
“I pushed a little too much and lost the rear, tried to get it back but didn’t have the grip to get it back. No damage to the rear is the most important, tomorrow is another day,” Leclerc said.
“Also, I think the feeling is pretty good in a lap, but in the race we were very far behind. Red Bull is in a league of its own, but far ahead so in In the race, we have a lot of time to find. In qualifying, we are more or less there.”
Sky Sports F1 live Miami GP schedule
5:15pm: Miami GP Triple Session (session starts at 5:30pm)
8pm: Building Miami GP Qualifiers
9pm: Miami GP Qualifiers
10:45 p.m.: Ted .’s Eligibility Notebook
7pm: Construction of Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP
20:30: MIAMI GRAND PRIX AWARD
10:30pm: Miami GP checkered flag reaction
11:30pm: Ted .’s Notebook
The Formula 1 season continues with the Miami GP this weekend. Watch the qualifiers at 9pm on Saturday and lights out at 8:30pm on Sunday. Get sports in the sky