Hamilton: Car 'back to normal' at Suzuka
6 October 2017 – Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes' W08 performed "much better" during Friday's dry practice session in Japan, compared to its display a week ago in Malaysia.
Mercedes introduced a revised aerodynamic package at Sepang but both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled, leaving the squad adrift of rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
Hamilton ditched the new parts for the remainder of the weekend and raced to second, after taking pole, while Bottas kept the updated package and struggled to fifth position.
Hamilton, along with Bottas, trialled the updates once more during the dry opening session at Suzuka and finished second, 0.211s behind title rival Sebastian Vettel, before heavy rain fell.
Hamilton notionally set the pace in the shortened second session, as only five drivers recorded a timed effort in slippery conditions.
"It's been an interesting day, the car is feeling much better than it was in Malaysia," said Hamilton.
"I'm glad that we had the dry session for FP1.
"In FP2, there was a lot of rain, but it felt really important to go out and assess the track and see how the car was feeling as the car was not good in the wet in Malaysia.
"The car feels back to normal, so I'm ready to race."
Bottas, who finished in fifth spot, echoed Hamilton's comments, but says he needs to understand how to extract more performance from the Super Soft compound.
"In practice one, the car did feel better than it did in Malaysia, but we still need to work on things to make the car quicker," said Bottas, who did not run at all in FP2.
"As a starting point for the weekend, it definitely feels better than a week ago.
"My run with the Soft tyres was good, but with the Super Soft, I didn't really gain any grip, so the main thing for me is to understand the Super Soft performance.
"The long runs actually weren't too bad, and hopefully we'll see better weather tomorrow."