Mercedes confirmed its upward trend last week also on Friday in Austria. The silver arrows were the fastest in Spielberg’s training. Lewis Hamilton secured the best time in 1:04.578 minutes, followed by his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was 0176 seconds slower. Sebastian Vettel was missing for another six hundred seconds.
It was a good day without big problems,”Hamilton summarises. Part of the success is the new round car – one speaks of the biggest update of the previous season.
Last time in Le Castellet there had already been an engine upgrade, now the chassis is on. It’s really great to see these upgrades,”said the Brit. The boys in the factory have worked hard to bring quality components.”
“The rear was especially stable”
According to him, the car felt better than it did last week on the way out of the garage. In the afternoon, however, things got a little worse, and we will now try to find the reasons in the Debrief. But on the whole the car feels good, which is why I am sure we can fix it.”
Team colleague Valtteri Bottas’feeling was also good from the start:”The update worked just as well as we expected it to,”he praises.”The update has worked as well.” Above all, the rear of the car was really stable.”He says this especially in view of last year, where he experienced enormous blistering at the right rear tyre. And because this is once again a potential danger, it is good if the rear is stable.” Nevertheless, we still need to work on the balance.”
Wolff: We are not allowed to rest
Motorsport Chief Toto Wolff is also pleased with the successful update:”There is a small change in the concept of our aero development and so far the drivers seem to be happy with it,”he says. According to the Austrian, it is a necessary step because Ferrari and Red Bull would not rest either.
“We push from race to race, from upgrade to upgrade, and even if you can bring 50-millionth customers, you will do it because it can make the difference between pole position and place three”, So Wolff continues.
And although one speaks of changes in philosophy, the basic genetics of the car should not change: “DNA has evolved over the years, and one does not want to reverse the positive just to optimize the car at slow speeds,” he says. In other words, Mercedes should continue to be good on fast routes and on slower ones rather less.
Monaco would have been a good test in this respect, because it was no longer as hard a problem as it was last year.” The next proof will follow in Budapest,”says Wolff, saying that it has become a bigger challenge.” Red Bull has always been the other way around, but they have improved enormously on fast tracks and are now almost everywhere an opponent –the same goes for Ferrari.”
The tires in focus
Austria is not really a clear hand in this respect. In the previous year Mercedes had his nose in front of Valtteri Bottas, but only very thin in front of Sebastian Vettel. 42,000-second distance in qualifying, 0,6 seconds in the race. So exactly the distance Toto Wolff spoke about earlier, which can be a small upgrade.
Question is, however, what role the tires play in the next weekend. Hamilton’s best time came on the soft tire, which is the toughest tire this weekend. On the Ultrasoft, on the other hand, especially on the long run, the British did not feel comfortable –on the soft one all the more.
In search of the details
“Ferrari usually makes a big step from Friday to Saturday. That is why we do not attach too much importance to today’s rounds,”says Chief Engineer Andrew Shovlin.
“Instead we will work on the points that both drivers have highlighted and see if we can find some more peace tomorrow. On this route the starting position is always close together. The more important it will be to get every little detail right,”says Shovlin.