Performance still to find for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team after a tricky Friday in Belgium
George went fourth quickest in the opening session of the day with Lewis in P9, as the drivers ran an experimental programme to test the updates brought to Spa.
In the damp and drizzly conditions of FP2, Lewis finished P6 and George P8 with both drivers struggling for tyre temperature to unlock the performance of the W13, particularly on the Hard tyre.
Weather conditions are set to improve over Saturday and Sunday, as the team looks to build into the weekend with a busy overnight programme.
The W13 took to the track with a number of special livery details to celebrate the 55th anniversary of AMG.
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We just weren’t very quick today and I’m not sure why – it could be tyre temps, wing levels, a multitude of things. It doesn’t feel disastrous out there, we’re just a long way off. We’ve experienced that a few times this season on a Friday and then things improve on the Saturday, I hope that’s the case this weekend. We’ve just got to work hard tonight, analyse the data to try and figure out how we get this car in a better place. The car doesn’t feel the same as Budapest in terms of qualifying pace but it’s not far off how it felt on the Friday so that gives me hope.
Tyre temperature is something we’ve struggled with this season and I struggled quite a lot on every compound today. In these conditions, it’s definitely something we need to work on. But we know that once you get temperatures in the right window, you can find a huge amount of performance, so there’s a little optimism there. We’re pretty used to having bad Fridays so let’s see if we can turn it around. I don’t think there’s any guarantee we can find the performance that we had in the last race but we’ll be working flat out tonight to try and get on top of it. Totally different day tomorrow, conditions will be very different, hopefully warmer and drier so let’s see what it brings. There’s not much to compare here to Budapest – a low downforce track, cold and wet conditions, not many comparable settings you can carry over – but that’s the unique thing about F1, every single time you go out you have different conditions and limitations to work around.
Quite a messy day with a bit of a rain and a red flag but we were able to get a read on the main issues to work on overnight. Our single lap performance clearly needs a bit of focus, neither driver had a good feel for the Soft tyre and probably we’re not getting it into the right window. There wasn’t much useful learning on a long run given the conditions. We had the Hard tyre in the second session which was particularly difficult in the cool and damp but the Medium was working reasonably well in FP1. Clearly there is an opportunity with the number of cars that are taking penalties, but we do need to find a bit of pace overnight if we are to capitalise on that.