(Motorsport-Total.com) – Lewis Hamilton has the favourite for the 2021 Styria Grand Prix at Spielberg (watch all sessions in the free live F1 tape!), and that’s Red Bull. “It must be hard to beat them,” the current Formula 1 world champion said after Friday’s training. The reason for this evaluation was probably due, among other things, to Max Verstappen’s best time of the day, which was about four tenths ahead of Hamilton. Or exactly: 0.384 seconds.
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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton during F1 training Friday in Spielberg
Hamilton was asked if this distance realistically reflects where Red Bull and Mercedes are at the Red Bull Circuit. The answer: “I don’t know if it’s four-tenths. I think they’re just ahead, maybe more clearly. We don’t know what they can do if they start the engine. Let’s wait and see what happens tomorrow.”
Hamilton said his hopes of qualifying were not too high, as Mercedes was “missing something on the fast lap”. His Mercedes W12 has a major weakness for Spielberg: “We lose a little bit on the straights. So we have to keep working hard so we can straighten it out.”
Mercedes’ power is the race distance
Overall, though, his Mercedes “felt in order all day,” says Hamilton. “One of my [aufgrund von Tracklimits] Canceled courses were much closer. So yeah, it’s tight. And it looks like we’re very well positioned at the race pace.”
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In fact, Hamilton and Mercedes have found it easier to do each other over a longer distance in free practice than in the flying session. Hamilton had steady times in the 1:09 range and thus was among the quickest drivers in his long-range attempts.
Hamilton says this is also essential if Mercedes wants to stand up to Red Bull. Because: “Red Bull is really strong right now. We have to face that.”
Hamilton: Homework is over!
On the plus side, he said there are no technical issues with his car so far. In addition, the coordination process has been good so far. “I’m much happier where we are with the car,” explains the world champion.
“I’ve been working hard all week to build an understanding of where I want the car. I hope this hard work pays off soon. I’ll try everything to make it go in the right direction.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finished Friday in Formula 1 in P13 from the unofficial standings, 0.839 seconds ahead of Verstappen with an odd spin in the pit lane.
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