Hamilton confident with ‘pretty strong’ Mercedes pace

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Lewis Hamilton says he is confident that Mercedes has “pretty strong”pace after topping the opening day of practice at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Hamilton ended the day four tenths clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the head of the timesheets.

The 2014 champion focused on setup work, while getting to grips with the Pirelli tyres.

“It’s been a fairly decent day – mainly working on setup, tweaking the balance bit by bit,” he said. “It’s often hard to get a good comparison between the sessions with the track and wind conditions changing.

“The wind was quite strong at times today and really inconsistent around the lap. The car is quite affected by that and it was pretty hot out there in the afternoon too, so I think maybe the temperatures also had an effect on lap times.

“The priority was understanding the tyres and how they wear because, ultimately, the race is the most important part of the weekend. We’ve not analysed the times yet but our pace felt pretty strong.”

Nico Rosberg topped the opening session in the sister Mercedes but dropped to third behind Vettel in the afternoon.

It’s great to be back in Europe and back to this track, where we did so many laps in the winter tests,” he said.

“I worked a lot on race pace in the afternoon and was happy with my long run, where we seemed to be quicker than the Ferraris.

“On one lap I still have a bit of work to do to find some more speed, so I’ll be working hard with the team tonight to find out where I can improve.

“On track it was quite a difficult day for everyone, I think. The conditions were really strange and the track was very poor. I don’t know really why but hopefully it will be more predictable for qualifying and the race.”

Image courtesy of Daimler

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