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Damon Hill Skeptical of Mercedes’ Surprising Practice Pace at Imola Amid Team’s Struggle for Form

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Damon Hill questions Mercedes' speed during Imola practice sessions: "This seems familiar to me."

1996 Formula One champion Damon Hill has raised doubts about Mercedes' remarkable speed in the initial two practice rounds at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell led the pack in terms of speed during both rounds at Imola.

During the second qualifying round that better reflected their capabilities, Hamilton and Russell secured the fourth and fifth positions, trailing Charles Leclerc's leading time by approximately 0.4 seconds.

Mercedes has unveiled a major update for this weekend's race in an effort to reverse their disappointing beginning to the season.

Mercedes has not managed to secure a top-three finish in the first six races, a situation not witnessed since 2011.

Yet, Hill remains skeptical about their performance level on Friday.

"Hill stated, "I'll continue to sound the alarm. Given that it's Friday, this situation is all too familiar to me."

"Feeling joyful on a Friday, but then, unexpectedly on Saturday, Max and the Red Bull team decide to lighten the car by removing some fuel and tweaking the engine. Excited to see the outcome tomorrow."

Mercedes presently occupies the fourth position in the F1 constructors' standings, trailing the client team McLaren by 60 points.

Ex-W Series racer Naomi Schiff believes that Mercedes' performance in practice sessions has provided a much-needed lift, especially considering the "really low energy" within the team due to their disappointing outcomes.

"She appreciated hearing their encouraging words, given the team's morale has been quite down recently," she noted.

"It's great to observe that the strategies they implemented this weekend are proving to be effective. Here's hoping they possess a competitive edge."

"Today, they lagged behind by four tenths. They haven't fully caught up yet. However, they're close enough to compete."

"We have FP3 and the qualifying round next, followed by, it seems, varying weather on Sunday."

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