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'Not the easiest start to the weekend' for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
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Lewis Hamilton admitted that Friday hadn't exactly been the start to the Hungarian Grand Prix that Mercedes had been hoping for, adding that there was room for improvement on Saturday.

The three-time champion was third fastest in FP1, 0.372s slower than top runner Daniel Ricciardo. Red flags in the afternoon thwarted his attempts to set a competitive lap on supersofts and he was only fifth fastest at the end of FP2.

"It wasn't the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty," Hamilton explained.

"We end the day in fifth but there's clearly good pace in the car," he insisted. "There's some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it.

"I believe the pace is in there," he asserted. "We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix.

"It's super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it's looking like it will be an exciting weekend. That should be good for the fans!"

His team mate Valtteri Bottas had a slightly better day. After finishing FP1 in fifth, he improved to third place in the afternoon, but he too felt there was a lot the team needed to do to sharpen up its position.

"We have some work to do. The three teams at the front seemed very close.

"I was not quite happy with the balance of the car today," he admitted. "I was especially struggling with the rear end.

"The temperatures are expected to rise tomorrow, which means that we really need to get the rear end of the car more stable. I think that will be the main area for us to focus on."

Mercedes F1 chief technical officer James Allison endorsed Bottas' analysis of the current state of affairs.

"I guess after all the fun of Silverstone, it's back down to hard work here in Hungary," he said. "It's going to be a proper fight this weekend.

"The car has been reliable. We improved the balance of the car from this morning. But we clearly still got more work to do."

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