Hamilton” The feel of the W15 is the best yet

Lewis Hamilton says his W15 car feels the best it has all season, after an encouraging first day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix .

After a challenging start to the season in which Mercedes struggled with their W15, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and fifth in the first free practice session at Suzuka, which was the only practice to run normally as the second session was ruled out due to wet conditions.

After a flurry of experiments the team carried out as part of an effort to discover their car’s high-speed weakness and tire temperature management, Hamilton said early evidence points to good progress.

“It was a great session, it was a really good session for us,” Hamilton said. “It was the best session we had this year, and the best impression the car had this year. So it’s really positive so far.”

“I was very excited because this is a track that every driver likes to drive. In the last few years here we have had a really difficult car and a difficult balance to drive. But given the last few tough races we’ve had; great work was done last week.”

The Brit believes they now have a better platform to build on, unless they do something wrong again.

“I think we have a better platform or foundation to start from,” he explains. “So as long as we don’t make too many changes and mess up, I think we’ll probably stay where we are.”

Russell echoed Hamilton’s sentiment about the feeling at Mercedes, who said things had gone better than expected at a place where the team was expected to struggle.

“We were definitely better than we expected in practice 1, so that was a pleasant surprise,” added Russell.

“The car was very pleasant to drive, and Lewis and I were very satisfied with the balance. It performed better when it was a little colder, but we did a lot of testing to try to make that bump a little more consistent when the conditions were variable. So time will tell.”

“The second practice was definitely missed by everyone because we had some interesting things we wanted to try. But that’s the nature of Formula 1 sometimes.”