2022 Hungarian GP: Mercedes in trouble with the FIA

Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a tough day on Friday in Budapest.

Mercedes have used another of their eight exemptions this season by working on the W13 after hours at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Each team is given eight free passes to break curfew and stay behind late into the night to work on the car, and the Silver Arrows have now used three of theirs.

The rule was brought in to look after the welfare of team members amid the long hours and arduous work they need to put in to get the cars and equipment transported and set up.

George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton struggled during Friday practice ahead of the race weekend, and were around a second off the pace of Ferrari as first Carlos Sainz and then Charles Leclerc went quickest.

READ: Lewis Hamilton opens up on retirement plan following Sebastian Vettel’s announcement

As a result, the team stayed behind on Friday night into Saturday morning to get the car into a strong position for the race, earning them a third warning.

“Wednesday night team personnel of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, who are associated with the operation of the car, were within the confines of the circuit during the 13-hour period which commenced at 20:00 on 27 August, 42 hours before the scheduled start time of P1 and ends 29 hours before the scheduled start time of P1 at 09:00 on 28 July,” said the stewards’ report.

“This was the third of the eight individual exceptions permitted for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team during the 2022 Formula One Championship season and therefore no action should be taken.”

Russell ended the opening two sessions of the weekend fifth and eighth respectively, but he revealed that, with a wet qualifying session coming up on Saturday, it was a day of learning.

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Therefore, the 24-year-old is undeterred by the gap to Ferrari at the beginning of the weekend’s action.

READ: Lewis Hamilton fires warning in Hungary as he denies Mercedes have ‘turned a corner’

“Not too sure to be honest, it’s definitely not our smoothest Friday so far,” conceded Russell when speaking to reporters after FP2.

“A bit of a strange one because we think it’s going to be wet tomorrow for quali, and conditions on Sunday are going to be drastically different.

“So we were trying quite a few things with the car, using it as a bit of a test session because, to be honest, you can try and optimise everything today but there is no use for that for the rest of the weekend.

“Even though it was a very tough day I think it has been a productive one.”

Russell and Hamilton completed 104 laps between them during Friday practice as they tried to figure out how to sustain the pace they appeared to show in Silverstone and Spielberg.