Mercedes Lewis Hamilton says he struggled on Friday to find the proper rhythm around Yas Marina, although the 2019 world champion labeled his pace as competitive.
Hamilton trailed teammate and pace setter Valtteri Bottas in both practice sessions, revealing that he tried pushing his W10 Silver Arrow into “different areas” during the evening session, experimenting for the future.
“It’s been a bit of an usual Friday for me; I was struggling to get into the rhythm today, but you have your good and bad days,” Hamilton said.
“Nonetheless, the car still felt good, but there’s definitely areas that we can work on as a team and areas for me to work on personally.
2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Free Practice 2 – Results
“I’ll just sit down tonight and make sure to get that straight for tomorrow. I’ve been trying to explore some new avenues with the car.
“We already know where it works well, so I’m pushing the car into different places, just trying to see if there’s anywhere else I can exploit the car and the tyres for the future.”
Bottas was strong from the outset on Friday, although the Finn looked on the edge at times, especially in FP1 on Yas marina’s green and dusty track.
The day’s fastest runner – who will start his race on Sunday from the back of the grid following an engine change – received a reprimand from the stewards who frowned upon his botched overtaking attempt on Haas’ Romain Grosjean in FP2.
“I thought he had seen me going for the overtake on the inside, but by the time I realised that he hadn’t seen me, there was no way for me to escape anymore.”
Mercedes technical director James Allison predicted an exciting qualifying on Saturday considering the tight performance between the front-running teams.
“The car is behaving itself and we’re hopefully of a good day tomorrow,” said Allison.
“Although we’ve had a strong day today, it’s pretty clear from looking at the Ferrari and the Red Bull that they’ve got pace in their car as well, so it’ll be an exciting day tomorrow in qualifying where there’ll be no room for error.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter