F1: Hamilton to ignore speculation over future
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Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton have both experienced issues with the balance of their cars during testing ahead of the new F1 season. Speaking after setting the fastest lap time on day two of testing, Bottas admitted that “one of the bigger issues with the car is the rear end”.
Bottas suffered with gearbox problems on day one and, although he was happy to get more laps under his belt on day two, there are still issues that Mercedes need to correct.
“I finally managed to get some laps and some clean runs to really learn about the new car and try some things,” he said.
“It’s always good when you learn and that’s what testing is all about – the opportunity to run different things and see how the car reacts.
“As a driver you use that information in a race weekend so it’s hugely important.
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“If the set-up changes work or don’t work, it’s all valuable information.
“For sure it’s windier here than we’ve had at a race but one of the bigger issues with the car is the rear end.
“It’s quite snappy and unforgiving. With the new tyres, it’s quite sensitive so we need to calm the car down a bit.”
Hamilton has also had problems with the car’s balance, with a new regulation forcing teams to change the design of the car floor.
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On the first day of testing, Hamilton spun out at turn 13 and admitted that the windy conditions affected his driving.
“Today the wind I think did a 180, so the track is a lot different today,” Hamilton said. “Some places you can push where you couldn’t yesterday, and it’s very gusty, as I found out into Turn 13.
“So the rear doesn’t feel particularly great with this new regulation change, but we’re trying to find the sweet spot.”
Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes the team will be able to make improvements to the car ahead of the season, following the first two days of testing.
Reflecting on day two, Shovlin said: “It was a better day than yesterday and we were able to run to plan in both sessions. Lewis was in for the morning working on setup items and data collection and Valtteri continued with similar work in the early part of the afternoon.
“We’ve made progress on the set-up today and the balance was more together by the end of the session, albeit in calmer and cooler conditions.
“But the car is still a bit of a handful in the warmer and windier conditions of the morning and that’s something we need to get to grips with tomorrow.
“It’s going to be a busy day; we’ve got more than enough to do so we’re hoping for a trouble-free day.”
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