Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes are still contenders for the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, even though they suffered a “mess” of a first free practice qualifying session on Friday.
In the morning FP1 at Spa, Hamilton twice had car issues which hindered his attempts to put together a fast lap. The first problem was a telemetry glitch and the second a throttle problem, while Ferrari finished quickest in both sessions on Friday through Sebastian Vettel and then Charles Leclerc.
The Brit is content with the improvements made from FP1 to FP2, though, and has played down the pace gap between Mercedes and Ferrari on the day.
"Obviously not a great start for us in FP1, we had a problem with the throttle and I lost power," Hamilton said.
"I was idling with the rpm trying to get it back. I managed to fix it with a couple of switch changes. When we went back out we had another problem, that was a bit of a mess. I had a few laps towards the end, but not anything spectacular.
"And then we made some changes, we changed because the set up was quite far off going into FP2. It was feeling a lot better but there's still a lot of work to do.
"I don't know about the gaps, Ferrari looks quite quick, they're nearly a second quicker than us just in a straight line down to Turn 5. That's quite impressive, but we'll keep just chipping away at it. We're clearly up in the mix, which is good."
"It's [the balance] not too bad, it was terrible in FP1, it was a nightmare. This one [FP2], it was quite a lot better," the championship leader revealed.
"There are some bumps, like at Turn 9, that has always been there but feel worse and worse each year. But it's a reliability competitive sector for us, it's the last two which are all high speed."
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