Formula One: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas say F1 no longer needs Friday practice

Hamilton (right) greets teammate Bottas after the qualifying session for the Eifel grand prix. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NUERBURGRING, GERMANY (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas said on Saturday (Oct 10) that a Formula One Grand Prix no longer needs to be held over three-day weekends.

The two Mercedes drivers, who locked out the front row for Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, were responding to questions on Saturday over the fog and rain that cancelled Friday practice.

"I don't think we need to be in on Fridays," said Hamilton, dismissing suggestions that his lack of practice contributed to him failing to secure a record-extending 97th pole position. "So, it was fine for me."

Bottas, who secured his third pole of the season and 14th of his career by outpacing Hamilton by two-tenths of a second, said he felt that in modern Formula One too much time was spent in practice sessions.

"Currently, in a normal weekend, I feel like there is too much practice," he said.

"Everyone finds their way on set-ups and optimal things in terms of driving and the car set-up.

"But if there was a bit less practice maybe some teams can get it right, some drivers can get it right and some don't. So, I'd kind of like it with a bit less practice."

He added that even if Mercedes had taken part in two practice sessions on Friday, they would have made only a relatively small gain in performance.

"No doubt, the more you practice, you get all the fine details right," he said.

"And on Friday you have the whole night afterwards before the last session to look at things and learn more from the car and the driver.

"So, I think, we'd have been a tiny bit quicker with more practice."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who qualified third on the grid behind the 'black arrows' who locked out the front row for the 72nd time, also agreed.

"We have a lot of practice so you can take your time to settle in and you can go over it through a whole night, working on little issues or whatever," he said.

"But when you realise that it is only one session, you are straight away on it and it is very different."

The unscheduled introduction of a two-day race weekend in northern Germany was an unexpected rehearsal for the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on November 1 where a single 90-minutes session is planned.

Hamilton said the cold weather would play a key role in Sunday's race when he makes a second attempt to equal Michael Schumacher's record of 91 Grand Prix wins.

"I've got my work cut out, so there is plenty to think about - these two are making it hard for me but I'm enjoying the battle.

"We have to see with the weather. It's a lot cooler here and not the easiest place to overtake."

Hamilton has won once before at the Nurburgring, with McLaren in 2011, but may be buoyed by knowing that pole is less critical than at many circuits. In the previous 18 F1 races at the circuit, only three were won by the driver on pole.

Bottas is hoping to carry the momentum of his victory in Russia two weeks ago into the race and to revive his title bid. He is currently 44 points behind his team-mate.

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