Hamilton predicts Red Bull has ‘something extra in the bag’ after F1 practice

Lewis Hamilton suspects Red Bull hasn’t shown its hand after Mercedes led a 1-2 in Formula 1 second practice at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12.
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Hamilton headed Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the second practice session at the Red Bull Ring, just under two-tenths separating the pair.

Max Verstappen ended the session 0.2s shy at the top, while Sergio Perez could only manage 11th in the second Red Bull.

Verstappen took a dominant win last time out at the Styrian Grand Prix and Hamilton predicts Red Bull has ‘something extra in the bag’ when it comes to qualifying tomorrow afternoon.

“I mean, they’ve [Red Bull] definitely got something extra in their bag, I already know that. But I mean I think we’ve made some small progress today, but I think there’s still, I think they still have the two tenths or maybe it’s a tenth and a half, something like that. We’ve definitely made some small steps forward but not enough to close the two tenths.

“But over a single lap, that felt OK, it felt pretty good, and I just expect them to turn up a little bit more tomorrow. They’ve got, they’ve almost basically got the qualifying mode that we used to have and I asked the guys, I don’t understand where they get it from, but it’s impressive and we’ve got to work hard to try and see if we can match it tonight.”

Hamilton was happy with the handling of his Mercedes W12 and doesn’t see himself making too many setup changes overnight.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle in P1, it was a bit of a struggle because I was just trying a different variant of the car and the car was unhappy, so then I had to make some more changes back, similar to what I had last week – some other adjustments – and it felt much better so I’m generally happy with where the car is, I’m probably not going to change too much,” Hamilton explained.

“Because most often, if it ain't broke, don’t fix it… and most of the time we try to eke out more and it gets worse. So I’ll be the tiniest of tweaks.”

Bottas echoed the thoughts of his teammate and felt Mercedes was in a better position to challenge than it was this time last week.

“Of course I am, it’s still good fun. I think that this being the second week here, every single margin, cornering performance and driving performance are becoming smaller, it’s more about fine-tuning, rather than finding big chunks of time,” Bottas added. “I think we started OK in terms of how the car feels, much better than last week and, hopefully, we can build on from that.”

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