The seven-time world champion ended the dry second practice session at the Hungaroring down in 16th on the timesheets, with team-mate George Russell in last, as the pair each used just a single set of mediums throughout.
But while aware that the squad was on a different programme to everyone else, Hamilton had a pretty downbeat assessment on the feeling from his W14.
“It didn’t feel good,” he expressed. “It felt like the car was performing at its lowest point today.”
“We will focus on preparing tonight and hopefully tomorrow, similar to last year when it initially felt unpleasant. However, by making some adjustments to the set-up, we managed to improve the situation.”
“We are currently engaged in that task this evening. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring improvement.”
Russell had a slightly more positive outlook on Mercedes’ position in reality, as he knew that his team typically faces challenges on Fridays but gradually improves throughout the weekend.
He expressed, “Honestly, it wasn’t too terrible. Our approach was clearly distinct from everyone else’s, as we opted to use only one set of tires throughout. Additionally, these tires were previously used in FP1.”
“The lap times do not accurately reflect the situation, and I am confident that tomorrow will be an improvement. However, our main focus remains on enhancing our performance.”
“We are aware that our performance typically improves as the weekend goes on, which is the desired progression. We discovered a few intriguing insights even during that particular session, so let’s explore what we can achieve tonight.”
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Russell believed that enhancing tire management was crucial for making progress, including effectively activating them during qualifying and effectively handling them throughout the race.
“We are currently facing difficulties in maintaining sufficient grip,” the Briton stated. “I believe the tires are not performing optimally, whether with low or high fuel levels.”
“So, our main objective is to determine the reason behind this: whether we should opt for a quicker or slower out-lap during the qualifying session, and whether we need to exert more effort or focus on better management during the race.”
Sometimes, it can be challenging to determine the temperature of the tires and what adjustments are needed to increase speed while in the cockpit without referring to data.
“As I said, it wasn’t our best day for sure. But it’s not the first time I’ve said that on a Friday evening. And Saturday and Sunday often is better.”