Nico Rosberg admits that Mercedes had some work to do today to adjust to life with a FRIC system, despite having already run in that configuration in the recent Silverstone test.
Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton topped the times today, although Daniel Ricciardo wasn’t far behind.
“It felt different a little bit than usual of course,” said Rosberg. “So we have to work around it a little bit and adapt, but in the end it feels OK.
“For sure it will shuffle things around a little bit, without this FRIC system, and we’ve got some new challenges to rebalance the car and get happy in the car. Today was good progress, I was very unhappy this morning and then tried some different things, and it worked out.
“It looked pretty close out there, but on Friday you never know what people are doing with fuel and things like that. Let’s just wait and see for tomorrow and Sunday.”
Rosberg said it won’t be easy to keep the supersoft tyres alive.
“The tyres are difficult, definitely. There’s a lot of degradation, they’re very soft for this race track, and especially for these temperatures. Colder temperatures will help on Sunday, but of course if it rains that’s a whole different story again.”
He also had some interesting thoughts on the weather: “It was very warm out there. I think the ground was 50C, and we’re sitting on the ground, the car is literally touching the floor all the time, and my butt is on the floor of the car. It’s as if I was sitting on a 50C floor! It gets massively hot out there.”
Meanwhile Hamilton agreed that there was work to be done: “It was difficult to find a balance today. Finding the sweet spot of the car, it’s just in a different place now.
“It’s pretty good, but there’s lots to learn. The temperatures are so high, so it’s very hard for the tyres. It’s probably going to be one of the hardest races to manage for the tyres.”