The Mercedes Formula 1 drivers are “a lot happier” with how the car is performing at Imola after a difficult Bahrain Grand Prix.

“The team worked very hard to understand what happened in the last race where we were weak and to see if we can try to tweak the car for a better set-up,” said Lewis Hamilton. “I also think the track has come a little bit more in our direction. We started off with a really good set-up today, a few tweaks are and there but no major issues. So far, good pace for us this weekend.”

However, Hamilton is not playing down Red Bull’s performance, as the Briton says they “haven’t seen the best of the Red Bulls yet.”

“It looks like they had messy sessions with trafic,” he said, “but it will be interesting to see just how quick they are tomorrow. Positioning is important here – it’s hard to follow around this track so nailing the set-up and maximizing tomorrow is going to be so important.”

Valtteri Bottas said the car is feeling “much better” than in Bahrain, as he admits he is “much happier” with the balance of the car at Imola.

“The car is feeling much better than on the first day in Bahrain. As I said yesterday, it is a different track and type of circuit with different grip levels and surface. The weekend has started in a positive way, I’m much happier with the balance of the car. “

“The car feels better, we still have the same type of issues as in Bahrain but less so. Still not perfect but we are only on event two out of 23 this season so hopefully we have time to fix it. I feel like we’ve made steps forward so that’s really good. The whole grid from midfield to the front looks very close. We didn’t see the best from Red Bull today but we’ll see that in Q3 tomorrow. No doubt they are going to be fast. We still don’t think we are the fastest car and we really need to improve on that on Saturday.”

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