Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas drove their updated W09 to the top of the sheets at the Red Bull Ring during both Friday practices. And after testing their upgraded machine for the first time they have given the revised package the thumbs up.
Amongst the myriad changes on the Silver Arrows are a switch to more Ferrari-like sidepods, revised bargeboards and new rear wing endplates, and Bottas –who finished second behind Hamilton in both Friday sessions – said the initial feeling was that they work well.
“It’s been a good day so far – pretty straightforward with no real issues. There are not many corners here in Austria; it’s a very fast track and it’s very close between all the tyres. The harder tyre seems to be the better for me. It’s really great to see the updates; the guys at the factory have been working so hard to bring quality components. The car feels better in certain areas around the track which is already a step forward from last week. The car felt immediately better coming out of the garage in FP1 and also at the start at FP2. It got a little worse during the afternoon session and we will try to figure out why in the debrief. But, the car does feel good overall, so I’m sure we can rectify it. I’m going to keep pushing, trying to maximise a bit more out of it.”
“It’s been a good start to the weekend; we tried our new updates today and the initial feeling is that they work well. The team has done a really good job delivering the updates. Every single person has worked really hard on them. It worked exactly as expected which is down to all the hard work behind the scenes. Especially the rear end of the car was really stable today. Last year I had severe blistering on the rear left tyre which could potentially be an issue again as it is going to be warmer again this Sunday. So, it’s good that the rear felt stable today; however, we do still have a bit of balance work to do to get the most out of the car. Qualifying is really exciting around this track. There are not a lot of corners, so you need to nail every single one of them in order to make it to the front row.”