November 15th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton was in good spirits after Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas. The Mercedes driver had struggled at the last race in Abu Dhabi, but after the team found cracks in his chassis and replaced it for the US Grand Prix, Hamilton seems much happier with his car.
Hamilton, who won last year's United States Grand Prix, said after Friday practice, "First of all, I want to say that it's great to be back here in America - this track and city are just such a beautiful place to be racing, and especially with the support from all the fans we saw out there today.
"The circuit was quite green today, which made it pretty slippery out there as we are using the two hardest tyre compounds this weekend. After we changed the chassis yesterday, the car felt better to drive, particularly on the long run when it was pretty consistent, so that's a positive for me. The option tyre is working well for a long stint, which may open up some possibilities for us with race strategy.
"It was a pretty straightforward day although we still have some work to do to nail the set-up because it's not quite there yet. But all of us in the team are focused on ending the season on a high and taking that foundation with us into the winter."
In the other Mercedes, Nico Rosberg had a strong Friday, outpacing Hamilton in each of the two practice sessions, although the first session was admittedly a bit unusual with delays due to weather and a missing medical helicopter.
Rosberg described his Friday in Austin:
"That was a crazy start to the weekend with the fog and the helicopter, which forced us to stay in the pits for quite a while this morning. This afternoon we had a very good session. The car felt like it was on rails and I was very happy with the balance. I hope we can give the Red Bulls something to think about this weekend and I will be pushing 100 per cent for another podium.
"It's really difficult to get it right with the tyres here as the track surface is very smooth and the compounds are very hard. Therefore the tyres are lasting a long time and a lot of people will try to manage only one stop on Sunday. So it will be an exciting weekend here in Texas for the fans and it was good to see so many people out there already today."
Mercedes are currently locked in a battle for second place in the Constructors' Championship with Ferrari and Lotus. Mercedes are currently second, with Ferrari 11 points behind in third and Lotus 37 points behind in fourth place. It's unlikely that Mercedes will make their second place certain this weekend, but they will nonetheless be pushing hard to increase the gap to Ferrari and Lotus as much as possible.