After a disappointing start to the F1 season for Lewis Hamilton who has lacked pace so far, the Mercedes driver has admitted the car is improving after clear issues in the opening four Grand Prix’s.
He managed a fourth place finish in the second practice session of the Miami Grand Prix, with team mate George Russell dismantling championship leader Charles Leclerc at the top of the leaderboard.
Despite the strong showing on American soil, the seven-time world champion says he is “still struggling” with the car, but says he can see the car is improving "bit by bit".
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"It feels similar to me," Hamilton said. "We seem to be quicker here, and later on they were explaining to us that we definitely have improved in some way - and I'm not exactly sure why that is.
We still have the bouncing, so we haven't cured it, but bit by bit we're improving the car.
The fourth place finish for Hamilton indicates there could be a genuine three-team battle for Sunday's much-anticipated street race.
"There are definitely positive elements to take from today,” Hamilton said.
"I'm still struggling with the car - George [Russell] looked great out there - but we're trying a lot of different things. We'll converge and hopefully improve."
Russell - who currently sits in P1 after the second practice session - is not getting too carried away and also seemed dumbfounded at the car's sudden improvement.
"I don't really understand it to be honest, why we've hit the ground running,” he admitted.
"We always knew coming into the weekend that the conditions should suit us better, because we've been struggling with tyre warm-up. For sure that's played a big factor, but the car's working well.
It's only Friday, we're not getting too carried away."
The 24-year-old sits fourth in the overall championship standings, three places ahead of his teammate Hamilton, and admitted the second practice session had been a “really productive” day.
"It's definitely been a really productive day for us and probably the most productive Friday we've had
"You have races where things work in your favour and others where everything works against you. Imola wasn't the strongest circuit for us but so far from what we see the car is working well around Miami.
Practice means nothing... we go again tomorrow.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it was “only a matter of time” before Mercedes ironed out their problems and began to compete again.
"I have been saying since pre-season it is only a matter of time before they sort themselves out. You can see that is starting to happen,” Horner said.
"The characteristic of this circuit obviously helps as well but you can see they are starting to get on top of their issues and they are looking competitive."
With the first Miami Grand Prix looming, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez have criticised the track, claiming several drivers have struggled with the track’s “punishing conditions”.
"It is extremely tricky. It is very bumpy in some areas which is not quite what we were expecting," Norris said.
"I think everyone was expecting it to be very smooth and beautiful but it's not."
Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas was a victim of the track in th opening practice session after spinning backwards into the tyre barrier at turn seven, damaging his car's rear wing.
Norris added: "The surface is very tricky as well, because you go off line anywhere and it is pretty much game over and you end up in the wall - it's punishing let's say.
"That is why you have seen quite a few people ending up in the barriers. I feel like it isn't going to be great for racing now. That is the negatives, but the positives are it is still a good track."
Perez was in agreement with Perez, and admitted he was “really disappointed” with the conditions.
"It's wet on that side; it feels very gravelly. Racing will be hard. I think it's going to be an interesting race.
"We are all in the same boat. We don't know exactly where we are."
Horner also commented on the track, and said drivers need to find a way to handle the corners.
"There's only really one line; you go off line and there's zero grip,” he said.
"That's going to make racing a little bit tricky but they are finding their way into it and finding the balance and setup compromise for the types of corner that you've got here. It's quite challenging."
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