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‘The car’s feeling really great’ – Hamilton hails Mercedes’ performance after topping the timesheets on Friday in Barcelona

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Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton looks on in the stand during the first practice session at

Lewis Hamilton was pleased with how his Mercedes performed after going fastest during second practice at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the seven-time world champion crediting changes made after FP1 with the step forwards.

Following on from their strongest weekend of the year last time out in Canada, the Silver Arrows looked to again be in good form on Friday in Barcelona. Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1m 13.264s in FP2, putting him just two hundredths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

FP2: Hamilton sets the pace during second practice in Barcelona ahead of Sainz and Norris

While the 39-year-old praised the feel of the W15 in the session, he also suggested that the team still have further work to do in order to remain in the battle at the front throughout the remainder of the weekend.

“P1 was so-so,” Hamilton reflected at the end of Friday’s running. “I went one direction with the car, we learnt quite a lot in that session. And then P2 definitely felt quite a bit better. I think we made some good changes and the car’s feeling really great today.

“Very hot, the track, very tough for the tyres, especially in the long runs, but it doesn’t feel like we’re too far off. I won’t really take too much notice of lap times necessarily, but I think the car’s definitely in a better place.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 21: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton topped the timesheets during second practice in Barcelona

“I think we’ve got some work to do to improve it overnight and to see if we can hold onto the Red Bulls and the Ferraris and the McLarens.”

Pushed further on what could be possible on Saturday and Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton credited the team for their work in continuing to develop the W15.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the FP2 action from Barcelona as Hamilton goes fastest and Gasly springs a surprise

“Everyone at the factory’s been working so hard, as they are every year, but I think having more of a North Star, we’ve got a much better understanding of where we want to go with the car,” the British driver commented.

“And I think the incremental steps that they’ve been taking – everyone’s been working so hard with building components and bringing them consistently rather than big chunks here and there, and for that I’m really grateful. And you’re starting to see that in how comfortable we are as drivers in the car, so it’s awesome.”

Team mate George Russell – who scored Mercedes’ first pole position and podium of the season two weeks ago in Montreal – was also positive about the squad’s performance in Barcelona. The 26-year-old ended FP2 in eighth place on the timesheets.

‘We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves’ – Russell cautiously optimistic after strong Friday for Mercedes

“[I’m] feeling good,” said Russell. “The car’s performing really well around this circuit. I need to have a closer look at it, obviously Lewis topped the timesheets which was really great to see.

“I felt really strong on the medium tyre, long run pace in FP1 we were right up there with the quickest. It’s only Friday, but it’s been a while since we’ve been consistently at the upper-end.”

FP1: Norris heads Verstappen and Sainz in Barcelona first practice as Alonso brings out red flags

On whether he feels stronger in qualifying or race pace, Russell responded: “I think this morning definitely the long run. I think we were probably the quickest this morning in the long run and then maybe not quite as quick in the low fuel quali pace, whereas this afternoon definitely quali pace looked really strong.

“I’m feeling good, feeling excited. This is what we’ve been chasing for a long time. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.

“Lewis did a really great job and a great lap this afternoon in FP2, but we always know come qualifying the Red Bulls usually turn it up. Max [Verstappen] is going to be on it, McLarens were fast, Carlos was fast, so we expect a good fight.”

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