Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas managed to do 1-2 for Mercedes in the second free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday, finishing 0.217 seconds ahead of Verstappen in third place. But Hamilton is confident that Red Bull definitely has a little more pace in reserve, and that the gains Mercedes has made are not enough to overcome the deficit.
"We have made little progress today, but I think they still have about two-tenths of an advantage. We’ve definitely taken a few small steps forward, but not enough to close it, it’s not those two tenths. But in that one lap, everything felt fine, it felt pretty good.
” "I expect a faster Red Bull tomorrow. They basically have something like the qualifying mode we had before. I don't understand where they got it from, "said Hamilton. Friday offered far colder conditions than a week earlier, as well as a selection of softer tires to use.
Hamilton thinks the car struggled a bit through the FP1 as it tried out the different settings tested in the simulator, but eventually came close to the speed they had last week. “I tried with different car settings, and the car was not satisfactory, so I had to go back to settings similar to the ones I had last week.
But then again, with some other adjustments, I felt a lot better. I am generally satisfied with the way the car behaves. ” “I probably won’t change too much, because most often, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Most of the time we always try to get more out and then it gets worse. I will make the smallest adjustments, ”said Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas finished second in the second free practice, 0.189 seconds behind Hamilton, and also noticed progress with the W12 car.
Hamilton obviously doesn’t have as much confidence in the car as he once did. He doesn’t look nearly as good as last season and Verstappen could surprise this season. Hamilton has decided to extend his contract and maybe that move by Mercedes turns out to be the right move and a springboard to continue the season.
Red Bull worked a lot on their car, which paid off in the end. Although most still consider Mercedes a favorite, it seems that it will not be easy for them until the end of the season. Verstappen looks confident and is likely to do his best to take advantage of the opportunity