The Brit set the fastest time in the opening session and finished fourth in second practice, completing a total of 51 laps overall. However, he admitted that there is still work to do and believes it is “impossible” to predict what will happen.
“I’m happy with our progress over the two sessions today and we were able to complete our programme,” he said. “The car feels good and our focus was on trying to understand the tyres and make sure the balance is right for the weekend. There are areas where we can improve so we’re keeping focused on our own work, rather than being distracted by what the others are doing.
“It was pretty tough with the temperature and humidity and it’s so important to keep hydrated here. It’s one of the trickiest races of the year so we just have to make sure we tick all the boxes and that it all comes together for us.”
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was third in first practice and ended the second session at the top of the timesheets. He managed 49 laps overall and believes the team’s rivals are closer in Malaysia. “It was crazy conditions out there,” said the Australian Grand Prix race winner. “In the very, very warm temperatures, it’s a huge challenge to get everything right. The cars are on the edge and the tyre degradation was higher than expected today – we are sliding a bit more this year, perhaps because of the reduced downforce levels.
“We are still having some small issues and therefore we were not able to maximize everything today. The quickest teams seem to be closer together than in Australia, so we still have work to do overnight to improve our level of performance.”
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas