Russell moves forward but Hamilton slips back in mixed day for Mercedes

© XPB 

Mercedes drivers encountered mixed fortunes in Friday's second practice in Melbourne, with George Russell moving forward in the rain disrupted session while Lewis Hamilton slipped back.

A late hot lap in FP1 propelled Hamilton up to P2, although almost half a second adrift from pacesetter Max Verstappen, while Russell concluded the red-flagged session P9.

Later in the afternoon, as the rain found its way to Albert Park, the pair went in different directions, with Russell signing the fourth fastest lap of FP2 while Hamilton was a lowly 13th in the dry-to-wet session.

"FP2 was obviously a little bit frustrating for everybody with the weather coming in, a little bit surprising," commented Russell.

"But it was a reasonable session for us, we definitely took a step from FP1, which is a good thing.

"Let’s see what tomorrow brings with the weather."

Russell said that he wouldn't mind if another rain front rolled into Melbourne to spice things up. But regardless of what the heavens may decide on Saturday, the Briton was satisfied with his car's behaviour.

"There was a bit of rain in the area but it came in quite suddenly," said, describing second practice. "I know there’s a bit of rain around tomorrow as well, so I’d be happy for things to be spiced up.

"We just made a lot of set up changes over the break. We’ve been doing some good steps recently, we’ve been changing quite a few things and getting the car into a nice window as the weekend progresses.

"That’s quite satisfying from [being] sat in the driver’s seat, knowing the car feels better and as a team, we’ve contributed towards that.

"We ended to see how it translates into tomorrow but definitely FP1, I wasn’t very happy with the car and FP2 I was pretty happy."


On the other side of the Mercedes garage, Hamilton said that he felt more at ease behind the wheel of his W14 in FP1 then in FP2, pointing to set-up changes that "didn't work".

"This morning was good, this afternoon wasn’t as good. As simple as that," he said.

"It felt a little bit better this morning. We made some changes, and they didn’t work. We’ll revise those tonight and then it rained obviously. It wasn’t the greatest of sessions."

Hamilton expects the Brackley squad to perform just outside the top four in qualifying, a projection that Russell agreed with.

"I’d say that’s a fair assessment," he said. "I think if we really pull everything together, the third row, probably between P5 and P8, I think is where we’re looking at the moment.

"Obviously not where we want to be as a team. We know we have got more to come in a couple of races time.

"But we just need to maximise our changes and have a similar weekend to what we had in Jeddah."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter