Valtteri Bottas has hailed the progress gained from Mercedes’ cooling upgrades and feels the team “would have struggled massively today” without it in the hot conditions ahead of the German Grand Prix.

The Finn trailed Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the end of Friday practice with the pair taking third and fourth respectively behind a Ferrari 1-2 in extremely hot conditions at Hockenheim with air temperatures reaching 38°C in FP2.

Despite losing out to Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel at the end of the second practice session at the team’s home round, Bottas feels Mercedes were given key performance gains from its updates which include a new cooling package. Both Mercedes drivers suffered with poor car performance at the last hot race, the Austrian Grand Prix, which was won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

“It was extremely hot and I cannot remember driving in these kind of conditions,” Bottas said. “It makes it trickier for the drivers and especially for the cars and tyres, lots of overheating, especially in sector three with the corner combinations.

“It becomes so sensitive with the car sliding a little bit more, you pick up 10 degrees of extra tyre temperature and you can lose two-tenths like that. So quite sensitive.

“I think we’ve made progress. With the package we had in Austria we would have struggled massively today in the runs but now we could actually complete so good long runs.

“We tried to do some long runs in practice 1 when it was a bit cooler than in the afternoon so for sure we learnt quite a bit from the tyres and the setup.”

Hamilton was less convinced by the Mercedes cooling improvements having not pushed his W10 to its optimum in race conditions but feels the problem will subside as the forecast predicts cooler and wetter weather for both Saturday and Sunday at the German track.

“It’s not been the best of days in terms of the heat but fairly straightforward,” Hamilton said. “The tyres don’t like the temperature, so very slow out laps and they don’t last very long.

“It’s just about trying to keep the tyres in the working range, they are just always a little bit above the range, so always just overheating and that’s been the main issue today. But everyone is in the same boat.

“We’ve not had any problems today but we’ve not been in the race scenario. We did the long runs and I think they are okay but we are hoping the weather is not going to be like this for the rest of weekend.”

 

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