Merc strategy leading to Hamilton gap – Rosberg

Nico Rosberg says Lewis Hamilton’s advantage during Friday practice for the Grand Prix of Europe was in part down to the Mercedes strategy.

Hamilton was fastest in each of the Friday sessions, with a 0.3s gap in FP1 growing to an advantage of nearly 0.7s in the afternoon. Rosberg was also forced to stop running early after losing drive in FP2, and while he acknowledges his team-mate’s pace the championship leader says Hamilton was helped by the Mercedes tyre plan.

“For sure I have some work to do, Lewis was pretty quick,” Rosberg said. “I had the disadvantage of having to run the medium tyre [on Friday] whereas Lewis was always on softer tyres and can always get on to speed quicker.

“That hindered me a little bit, but one weekend it’s that way and one week it’s the other way, but on a new track it’s a little more paralysing. But anyways, [in FP3] I have plenty of time to work on the one-lap speed and I’ll get there.”

And Rosberg was left surprised by the pace of Mercedes main rivals, with Force India the closest challenger in FP2 on Friday.

“Feeling good out there. It’s a good track and the car is working really well, the team has done a good job. It’s difficult to understand where Ferrari and Red Bull are, considering they are usually our biggest rivals, they seem to be further back. I don’t know, let’s see how they go.”

REPORT: Hamilton 0.7s clear, Rosberg stops in FP2

Chris Medland’s 2016 Grand Prix of Europe preview

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