Lewis Hamilton hails ‘encouraging’ start for Mercedes at F1 British Grand Prix

Mercedes tasted victory for the first time this Formula 1 season last week in Austria, as George Russell capitalized on a late-race incident between Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, storming to the front to take the checkered flag at the Austrian Grand Prix. Can the Silver Arrows make it two in a row with a win at home in the British Grand Prix?

While that might be a tall order given what we have seen from McLaren and Red Bull so far — more on that in a moment — the team got off to an “encouraging” start in Friday’s two practice sessions at the historic Silverstone circuit.

Lewis Hamilton finished seventh in FP1, running a mix of the hard and the medium compound, and then improved to P6 in the second session while running a mix of all three compounds, including some runs on the softs. Russell was on a similar program, placing fifth in the first session on a mix runs using the hards and the mediums, and then finished tenth in the second session while using all three compounds.

“P1 was a strong session with the car feeling great. FP2 was a slightly more challenging hour, and we need to pick through why that was,” reported Russell in the team’s post-practice media report. “It was much windier, and I don’t think we got the [tires] in the right window, so that could explain a chunk of it. The conditions are likely to change across the weekend, with more rain possible too, so we will have to be adaptive.”

“The car felt generally good today. We’re still a little bit behind the ultimate pace at the front but today was encouraging. I don’t think the times are fully representative of where our speed was, but nevertheless, we know we’ve got work to do tonight,” said Hamilton. “We will therefore do what we can to try and find more performance and hopefully that can get us a little closer to those ahead.”

As far as the pecking order after the first day, Russell put McLaren and Red Bull a bit ahead of Mercedes, indicating that it might be a battle with the Ferraris on tap this weekend for the Silver Arrows.

“After today’s running, I’d say that the competitive picture looks similar to the past few races. McLaren and Max [Verstappen] look a step ahead and it’s close between ourselves and Ferrari,” added Russell. “We will work hard overnight to try and take a step forward and see where that leaves us tomorrow.”

As has been argued here and elsewhere, over the past three race weekends no team has been hotter than Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have scored 100 points over that stretch, more than McLaren, Ferrari, and yes, Red Bull.

Can they extend that streak at Silverstone? It might be too early to tell, but the week did get off to an encouraging start for the team.

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