Hamilton struggles with Mercedes balance at scorching, windy Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton has revealed he struggled to find a balanced set-up for his Mercedes during Friday practice for the British Grand Prix at a sizzling Silverstone.
As a six-time winner of the race, Hamilton knows how to mould a car to his liking, but in hot conditions - with air and track temperatures of 36 and 50 degrees respectively - and with high, buffeting winds, the reigning F1 champion encountered problems.
After finishing the day fifth on the timesheet, but with his primary run on soft tyres and low fuel aborted by a red flag after Red Bull's Alex Albon crashed into a barrier, Hamilton said his day was "quite difficult to be honest".
He added: "I think it’s always windy here which is essentially a good thing about this track because you’ve got some wind in different directions.
"But it’s made it tricky today with the car and the balance is a little bit... it’s not as good as I would like so we’ve just got to work on it tonight to see if we can figure it out.
“It’s not a disaster, but it’s definitely been a hard day driving.”
Hamilton did attempt another soft-tyre run when the action resumed, but struggled again, notably running off track at one point in the middle sector.
“We went back out and I think the tyres were just not as good as the first lot so that is the main reason," explained Hamilton.
“We’ll work through it. We’ve got great engineers and that’s the great thing about this team is that we continue to dive deep into the details and hopefully make some good changes overnight."
Valtteri Bottas, who set the third fastest time, also reported balance troubles.
The Finn said: "The first session particularly was a bit more tricky balance-wise. Obviously there’s still work to do but I think practice two was actually not a bad feeling.
“The gaps are quite small and normally we are able to make some good steps for the qualifying. I’m not too worried really because the overall feeling is quite good."
Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes the team lack the pace advantage it held at the last race in Budapest, which could potentially be attributed to the heat.
With temperatures expected to drop by more than 10 degrees, and with a chance of rain for qualifying, Shovlin knows the team cannot over-react.
"There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the car, and it's the same basic aero package, so we'll probably end up concluding that we've not adapted to the very hot conditions here as well as some others," said Shovlin.
"Valtteri seemed happier with his car than Lewis but both feel the tyres are running hot and that's making the car a bit of a handful at times on low and high fuel.
"It's quite a balancing act in terms of how you respond because we're expecting cooler weather tomorrow and need to be careful not to over-react.
"This car is competitive when we land it in the right window, and we've got a bit of time this evening and another session in the morning to work out how to do that. Hopefully, we can finish tomorrow a bit higher up the timesheets."
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