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Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton given huge boost at Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes finish second and third in afternoon practice

LEWIS HAMILTON’S hopes of winning a race this season were handed a huge boost as Mercedes kicked themselves back into gear. 

Hamilton’s chances of landing a record eighth world championship this season were handed a huge blow as an underperforming car leaves him 68 points behind leader Charles Leclerc. 

Lewis Hamilton was all smiles as his car looked better than it has done all season in Spain

The Mercedes finished second and third after a host of upgrades

But after a host of upgrades there is renewed hope as the Silver Arrows went second and third during the afternoon practice session in Spain. 

Team-mate George Russell clocked in just short of Ferrari driver Leclerc with Hamilton just behind.

The Silver Arrows driver said: “It’s positive, I’m super happy with the progress. “Thank you to everyone back at the factory for not giving up. 

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“We are not the quickest but we are on our own way. It is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing. 

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F1 SPANISH GP

Hamilton +0.2000 seconds behind Russell who now trails Leclerc in P1

“We are starting to eke into a bit of potential with our car but we still have improvements to make.” 

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Ferrari will also be hoping that upgrades they brought to Spain can help them match the race speed that Red Bull has enjoyed.

Max Verstappen has beat Leclerc to win the last two races.

“Hopefully [the upgrade] will be a good one and enough to be in front of Red Bull again,” Leclerc said.

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Verstappen said his team won’t roll out any surprises but are planning to reduce the weight of the car.

“Our car is a bit fat so we need to slim it down,” Verstappen said before getting behind the wheel on Friday.

It appears that focusing on the cars reliability is the top priority for Red Bull, after car failures kept Verstappen from finishing in Bahrain and Australia, where Leclerc won.

Verstappen added: “[Ferrari] are coming with a few upgrades so it will be interesting to see what that gives them at the end of the day.

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“We just need to focus on our package. We want a clean weekend.”

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