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Lewis Hamilton Applauds Mercedes’ Outstanding Performance During Practice for the Japanese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has voiced optimism ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, citing Mercedes’ strong performance in Friday’s practice session. Hamilton praised this practice as the team’s “best of the year,” indicating that the defending champs may be about to turn things around despite their recent problems.

After posting the fifth-fastest time, the seven-time world champion made his evaluation. Teammate George Russell arrived in fourth place. The fact that both drivers were less than half a second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen demonstrated Mercedes’s competitiveness over the challenging Suzuka track.

Hamilton was feeling good because his vehicle handled better than it had in previous races, when Mercedes struggled with downforce and high-speed bends. He said, “It was a really good session, the best the car has felt this year.”

Because of the Suzuka track’s notoriously difficult configuration, it was anticipated that Mercedes’ shortcomings would be exposed. Hamilton’s comments, however, suggested that the team had made considerable strides toward comprehending and overcoming these technological obstacles.

Surprisingly, Russell had the same feelings as Hamilton, calling the car’s performance “a pleasant surprise.” The Mercedes team has been working hard to close the gap with their competitors, and this surprise performance gain has given them newfound optimism.

Verstappen led the group at the front, with teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz—who won the last race in Australia—following closely behind. After the practice, Verstappen predicted a closer race than the dominating performance at Suzuka the previous year.

Not many teams, though, had an easy practice going. Another blow for Williams came when Logan Sargeant was involved in a serious collision that left the vehicle with significant damage. For the rest of the weekend, Sargeant was hopeful about recovering despite this setback.

The second session was impacted by sporadic rain, adding to the unpredictability of the weather. Oscar Piastri of McLaren took advantage of a drying track to lead the timesheets, with Hamilton and Leclerc following closely behind, both of whom managed to produce competitive lap times on slick tires.

As part of Red Bull’s driver development program, Formula 2 driver Ayumu Iwasa demonstrated his abilities by driving Ricciardo’s RB vehicle and finished 16th in the first session.

The excitement in the championship race has increased because to Mercedes’ recent surge at Suzuka, as preparations for qualifying and the race become closer. Teams need to manage these variables to gain a competitive edge, as the weather prediction may provide obstacles.

A change in the dynamics is indicated by Hamilton’s optimism and Mercedes’ improved performance, which bodes for an exciting Japanese Grand Prix weekend full of mystery and tension on the legendary Suzuka track.

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