George Russell was fastest at the second practice session at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.
The practice session was the last opportunity for the teams to fine tune their cars ahead of this afternoon’s Sprint format race, with as many as eight points up for grabs in that event.
Hamilton will start way back in 13th, and Russell 11th, for that, but they were in much better shape compared to many of their rivals in practice - though other teams may be holding something back for the more competitive efforts needed later.
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Just five minutes in there were concerns for Mercedes as Hamiton said, "I had a big power drop just now," but the car appeared to rally for the rest of the hour.
With 20 minutes done, Hamilton was second fasted, behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, and after another 10 minutes, Russell led the way.
There were concerns for Carlos Sainz, who followed up yesterday’s crash with another underwhelming showing.
Lando Norris starts in third place for the sprint, but he struggled for much of practice and retired to the pits after complaining that his brakes were, "being long," leading his team to recall him for investigation - and they will hope that any problem can be resolved before points are at stake.
Seven-time champion Hamilton finished the session down in fourth, with campaign leader Charles Leclerc of Ferrari in third. Perez was second, while Russell set the fastest time of 1:19.457 to give the German team hope of some improvement in the final two events at Imola this weekend.
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