Lewis Hamilton has admitted Mercedes have work to do if they are to get the set-up right at the Hungaroring and take the challenge to Red Bull.
Hamilton was a lowly 13th this morning in opening practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the tenth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship, and while he improved this afternoon, and finished up sixth, on a 1 minute 21.802 seconds, he was still over half a second off the top time posted by Sebastian Vettel.
Speaking afterwards, the 28-year-old seemed pretty frustrated, and added that today was all about making up ground after Mercedes were barred from taking part in the Young Driver Test last week at Silverstone - a punishment from the FIA International Tribunal for testing with Pirelli in Spain earlier in the year.
“We got a lot of laps in on the new tyres today which was positive and gives us a lot of information to look at and take into our programme for the weekend,” Hamilton stated. “We came into the weekend on the back foot a little without experiencing the new tyres [having had to miss the Silverstone test].
“The balance feels different and we need to work on the right set up but we learned over the course of the day, made some changes and will make more for tomorrow. It's difficult to know how the weekend will go for us. Others look quick here but we can generally pull a bit more out in qualifying so let's see how tomorrow goes.”
Nico Rosberg meanwhile was eighth quickest in first practice and seventh in FP2, his best a 1m 21.991s, leaving him 0.189 seconds down on the sister car. Despite being slightly slower, however, the German seemed more positive about the weekend ahead and what they might achieve.
“That was a busy day for us and we learned a lot in the two practice sessions. We know that it's quite challenging for our car in these hot conditions and we also had to learn about the new tyres for the first time today. I'm pleased with the progress that we made today but some of the other teams look quick here so we have more work to do. Tyre overheating is still an issue but I'm confident that we will be able to find a good set up and hopefully achieve a decent result this weekend,” he stated.
“It was an interesting day as we were running the new tyres for the first time,” summarised Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn. “It took us a while to find a good balance with the car but our long runs looked respectable this afternoon. Both drivers enjoyed trouble free running in the very hot conditions here in Budapest and we have lots of information and data to work with tonight.”