We made some good progress over the two practice sessions today. This morning wasn't so good but we completed a lot of laps this afternoon and made some good progress. It's difficult to get the set-up right here and this circuit is pretty tough on the tyres so I think everyone was struggling with the soft compound. Our car feels pretty good at this early stage but there are definitely some areas we can improve overnight. We're working towards a strong qualifying performance tomorrow afternoon, ideally on the second row, and then hopefully a place on the podium, that would be nice.
That was quite a tough day for us: we learned a lot but still have a lot of work ahead tonight so that I can find the best set-up. Generally, it seems that the main question this weekend is who can get third position behind the two Red Bulls, because they look pretty unstoppable at this circuit. But I'm confident we will have a role to play in that battle tomorrow and on Sunday.
We had a decent second practice session this afternoon. We managed to improve the car balance relative to this morning and did the work we wanted to. As always, we now have a busy evening ahead of us exploring the data and seeing where we can make further improvements. We didn't encounter any major problems today, so it was a good, steady start to our weekend and we will aim to build on that tomorrow.
Friday times are always hard to read because of the different fuel loads that teams run, so trying to predict the exact competitive order is more like gazing into a crystal ball than anything else. We didn't have a perfect day when you compare our pace to that of Red Bull but we put in 120 laps so there's lots of information the engineers will be working through tonight. I am sure it will be a close fight with our direct rivals Lotus and Ferrari, as it has been at recent race weekends. We all know how important it is to extract the full potential of our package tomorrow and most importantly on Sunday.
Mercedes AMG Petronas