Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes are not far behind rivals Red Bull and Ferrari after the first day of racing at the British Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion finished second fastest: 0.16 seconds slower than the fastest time set by Carlos Sainz in Ferrari.
Mercedes has unveiled another set of upgraded parts for its W13 car this weekend.
Speaking after practice, Hamilton noted that he was encouraged by the performance of Mercedes compared to their rivals.
“It was a good day, said Hamilton. “Second place, (I) feel pretty good.”
“I think (the car) still bounces quite a bit, not necessarily on the straight, but through the corners it’s quite sharp. So we still have work to do, but I feel like we’ve taken a small step forward – we just have to keep working,” he added.
Mercedes has suffered documented problems with bouncing at high speeds with the floor during the season so far. Because of this, the Briton adds that the stiff driving of the new car affects his approach to the track.
“You just can’t drive the track like you used to with this car as stiff as it is,” he explains. “The ride characteristics and the bounce we get, which is a lot, drives a stiffer ride. So no, it’s not the same, but we still have fun through Maggotts and Becketts.”
“It’s not so great through (turn) nine but it’s great on the first turn and Maggotts and Becketts are still pretty mega and Stowe, they’re my favorite corners.”
On the other hand, the Brit claims that the series of improvements Mercedes brought to this weekend’s British Grand Prix were focused on cornering grip rather than pure driving comfort.
“It’s just literally downforce and it’s hard to feel it because they’re two very different tracks,” he continued. “You come from a track with small wings and low speeds to a track that has all medium and fast turns.”
“Therefore, last week (Montreal) I was not able to feel the car like this, but this track is much smoother and much better – a little more like Barcelona in that sense. But this is the best track. (And) the hair on your head stands on end: it’s simply epic to ride,” he assures.
“Our pace on long stints is not as good as other drivers, but it’s not far off. So we’ve definitely made progress, I’m sure that overnight we can work and improve the car a little more,” concluded Hamilton.