With two ninety minute practice sessions in store, Hamilton performed extremely well in both, coming home in 2nd and 1st respectively.
“The car felt strong all-round straight out of the box,” Hamilton admitted. His pace backs this claim up; even on a harder set of tyres, Hamilton was just 0.053s off Kimi Raikkonen’s session-topping time in FP1.
“It looks tight at the top on the long-run pace,” Hamilton conceded. Sebastian Vettel was the man to beat with long run pace after he set an average lap time (on ultrasofts) which was seven tenths quicker than that of Hamilton.
It doesn’t seem to have flustered Hamilton, though, as he told media, “we’ve started the weekend in the best way possible.”
Sebastian Vettel, who currently leads Hamilton by 14 points in the World Championship, wasn’t quite so impressed with his day, saying, “I am not entirely happy but overall I think the car is ok.”
The one-lap pace for Ferrari was inferior to Hamilton in FP2; Vettel himself could only manage a meager P6 finish behind Max Verstappen.
“We just need to put a little bit more together,” Vettel said.
Both competitors will return to the track for one final 60 minute practice session at 11am local time.