Hamilton: I just love driving this car

Lewis Hamilton kept the momentum from his stunning triumph two weeks ago in Turkey, to start the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in the best manner possible, ending day one substantially faster than his rivals.

Over three tenths, an age in F1 terms considering that much separates a half a dozen or so cars behind him, was what Lewis had over the rest on a day the team were not even pushing but rather fc=ocussing on testing bits for next year.

Lewis reported on Friday evening from Sakhir, “It felt great to get back out on the track, I just love driving this car. Today felt a bit more like a test day though as we didn’t get to do a lot of qualifying style laps, instead it was a lot of discovery on next year’s tyres.

“This track works the tyres completely differently compared to the last race in Turkey, it’s a night and day difference. Instead of doing a fast out-lap to get temperatures into the tyres, you’re trying to go slow on the out-lap to not put too much temperatures into them and keep them from overheating.

“I wasn’t particularly happy with the balance of the car, but everyone is probably in a similar position as the track was quite slippery and dusty. We definitely got some work overnight to try and improve ahead of tomorrow,” added the Mercedes number one driver who will be hunting win 95 on Sunday, with he title already in his pocket.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was third quickest, around four-tenths shy of the #44 car in both sessions, summed up, “Our day was overall ok, looking at our performance and the general feeling in the car. It was more challenging in the first session and I expect it’ll be the same tomorrow because the track temperatures are higher at that time and there’s more wind as well.

“Both sessions were slightly messy with traffic and a few mistakes here and there, so there’s certainly more to come. I’m also not fully happy with the balance yet, we’ve got some work to do there. It’s tricky to say where we are, competitively, as we ran a different programme to everyone else, focusing on the new Pirelli tyres.

“I think Red Bull are certainly up there, they looked pretty good in FP2. The main challenge in Bahrain is always overheating of the tyres, something we haven’t had for a few races, so we need to adapt our different driving style accordingly. So lots of things to learn for tomorrow from today,” added the Finn.