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Hamilton: It’s super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes’

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Mercedes Practice report – Lewis Hamilton was third in the morning, but could only manage fifth in a tight-fought second practice. The Brit was quickest on the Soft tyre in the early -running in FP2, but struggled to get a clean lap together on the SuperSoft.

“It wasn’t the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty,” said the Brit. “We end the day in fifth but there’s clearly good pace in the car.

“It’s super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it’s looking like it will be an exciting weekend. That should be good for the fans!

“There’s some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it and I believe the pace is in there. We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix.”

Valtteri Bottas was the fastest of the W08s in practice, ending Friday with a 1:18.656s – just 0.201s shy of Daniel Ricciardo in the pace-setting Red Bull.

“We have some work to do,” said the Finn. “The three teams at the front seemed very close.

“I was not quite happy with the balance of the car today and I was especially struggling with the rear end.

“The temperatures are expected to rise tomorrow, which means that we really need to get the rear end of the car more stable.

“I think that will be the main area for us to focus on. It should be interesting tomorrow.”

Watching from the pitwall, Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison is expecting it to be super tight in the battle for top honours this weekend.

“I guess after all the fun of Silverstone, it’s back down to hard work here in Hungary,” said James.

“The leading cars are all very close and it’s going to be a proper fight this weekend.

“The car has been reliable, and we improved the balance of the car from this morning. But we clearly still got more work to do before we achieve the right balance between having a quick car in qualifying and one that will have good tyre usage in the race.”

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