Lewis Hamilton was pleased to be part of Mercedes 1-2 in Friday afternoon practice at the Hungaroring despite scorching temperatures.
Hamilton was second quickest in FP2, just 0.027s behind Valtteri Bottas with the pair almost three tenths ahead of their closest rival Max Verstappen who had topped the morning times.
“[It was] roasting today,” Hamilton told F1TV after the end of the second one-hour session in Budapest ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. “I think I probably lost three kilos today between the sessions.”
His team mate Valtteri Bottas agreed about the searing conditions, commenting that “It is like being in a Finnish sauna!”
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And it’s not just a matter of driver comfort, with the conditions having a major impact on the tyres and the performance of the car on track.
“Just melting the tyres out there, so it was quite hard to get the balance,” explained Hamilton.
“There’s a lot of sliding around because we’re just overheating once we leave the pit lane, but everyone’s in the same boat,” he added. “It doesn’t really feel great out there in terms of the grip.
“These tyres are not happy most of the time anyways. They definitely don’t like this temperature,” he acknowledged. “Of course it’s much nicer to drive when it’s cooler.
“It’s quite different to the last race we were at, where everyone was struggling with front tyres.
“They’re a different beast this year and it’s different each race you go to. That’s been an interesting process trying to understand.”
Both Red Bull drivers were also complaining about balance issues after lunch, and Hamilton was pleased that Mercedes had been quicker getting on top of the problems.
“To see Valtteri and I both on the front row pace wise, I think that’s great for the team and we’ll only improve on that.
“We’ve got some work to do tonight to try and see how we can finesse the car a little bit more, but it’s a good start.
“I’m optimistic with extreme temperatures right now,” he continued. “We can definitely improve the car balance wise, and if we can do that then it puts us in a better position for the race.”
Bottas said that the hot weather made more of an impact on Friday with shorter runs interrupted by visits to pit lane for fresh tyres.
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“It’s sweaty, but out on track at least you get a bit of air,” he said. “You are stopping mid-runs, you get the heat, and then it really is way more than 60 or 70 degrees in the cockpit.
“It makes it quite tricky with the tyres, obviously, overheating, but honestly, it didn’t look or feel too bad compared to the others, so I don’t think it’s a bad start for us.”
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