MELBOURNE, March 14th, 2014 (F1Plus / Jacob Polychronis) Mercedes GP have lived up to the hype during the first day of practice, claiming the two quickest times in Melbourne on Friday.
Lewis Hamilton was the quicker of the two drivers, clocking a time of 1.29.625 during the late-afternoon session. Hamilton’s result in the second session of the day was a polarisation from the first, in which he stopped on track without a lap completed.
“To miss the first session was kind of unusual, I didn’t even get around half a lap.”
“I think that is a one off.”
The disappointment of FP1 failure was short lived, however. Hamilton is now arguably the favourite to win this weekend’s Grand Prix as he grows in confidence.
“Thankfully we did enough running in FP2 so I feel quite comfortable in the car and with the track.”
“I think we basically have a nice foundation from FP2 so I can build on that into FP3 and see where we end up.”
Rosberg keeping in touch
Nico Rosberg posted a time of 1.29.782, narrowly trailing his team-mate by 0.157 seconds. After FP2, Rosberg reflected on the difficulties facing him ahead of the season’s opening race.
“This is one of the worst tracks for fuel consumption. Every lap I could see where I should be and I can see what I’m doing and it was really difficult. It will be a big challenge for Sunday.”
In addition to fuel consumption issues, Rosberg explained that tyre degradation is also a growing concern within the team.
“There’s a lot of tyre degradation which we didn’t expect so much. There’s a lot of problems where we lose grip and are spinning the tyres more.”
“It’s manageable - but manageable and going fast are two different things.”
Tyre degradation was the Achilles heel in Mercedes GP’s 2013 season, consistently inhibiting the driver’s ability to perform. Currently, it appears to be the only issue which has the ability to derail Mercedes GP’s chances for victory on Sunday.
Racing resumes tomorrow with a one-hour practice session, followed by qualifying at 1700 AEDT.