The Silver Arrows hit the ground running on Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, topping both free practice sessions.
Lewis kicked off the day by going fastest in FP1, edging out Valtteri by just 0.029s, with Kimi Räikkönen best of the rest in his Ferrari ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
The triple World Champion was quickest again in the afternoon with Valtteri in hot pursuit, 0.090s back. Once again, the red cars were P3 and P4.
“First practice was very, very good,” said Lewis. “But in second practice the track changed and shifted quite a lot, so it was slippery and quite a lot slower for everyone - especially with the gusts of wind. It was massively challenging but still fun nonetheless.
“The team has done an amazing job with the upgrades and the car is working just as we expected. It’s been a much better start to the weekend for me than in Sochi, so I’m very happy. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep working. We want to be number one.”
After taking a popular first win in Sochi a fortnight ago, Valtteri was back on track and working on evaluating the team’s new upgrade package for Barcelona. The Finn lapped second quickest on the day, just a fraction shy of Lewis, and was pleased with a good day’s work.
“Today was an important one for us with the new upgrade package on the car,” said Valtteri. “Our target was to evaluate if the new upgrades are working well and it seems like they are.
“At this time it’s way too early to tell exactly where we are, but everything seems to be working well so far. It’s always nice to start the weekend in a positive way, but the main days are Saturday and Sunday. As always we will work hard to find any performance.
“I really enjoyed it out there today so I hope we can squeeze some more performance out of the package.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Technical Director James Allison was encouraged by the team’s solid start to the weekend, as the crew cracked on with evaluating the new upgrades for Barcelona.
“It was a pretty good day for the team,” said James. “We have some new bits on the car for this weekend that we wanted to try out and ensure everything was working well. It seems like it is.
“At a track that can suffer from high rear tyre degradation we’re keen to ensure that our car is good on both the long-runs and the short-runs and we feel like we’re in better shape in that regard that where we were here during winter testing.
“We’ve definitely made some progress and we’ll be in with a shout if we keep up the good work this weekend.”
The Silver Arrows will be back on track in Barcelona tomorrow… Qualifying day!