Lewis Hamilton will aim to make the most of “two freebies” to finish the Formula One season as Mercedes plan ahead for 2020.
The Briton wrapped up a sixth world title at the United States Grand Prix last time out, while Mercedes are already certain to finish the year with the constructors’ championship once again.
Still, even with team boss Toto Wolff absent in Brazil – Mercedes are not interested in taking it easy.
Hamilton sees both the race in Sao Paulo and the season-finishing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as ideal opportunities to “try new things”, though he has no plans to hold back in the pursuit of an 11th race win of the campaign.
“I still want to win the races, it’s just as hard to win these races that are coming up,” he said after Friday’s two practice sessions.
“But it’s almost a different approach for me now because you can be a little bit more aggressive and try some different strategies and different ways in how you go about the weekend and the processes.
“We’ve got two freebies, basically, to try some new things that can [help us] next year.
“Obviously next year we only have six days as opposed to eight of testing so every tiny bit of an advantage you can gain in terms of changing things and gaining and being dynamic hopefully can pay dividends next year, so that’s our goal.”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 15, 2019
Wolff may well be missing from the Mercedes garage for the first time since 2013 but the team will not be allowed to relax, according to Hamilton.
“I think he has such a presence in this team that even whilst he’s not here, he’s still here,” the 34-year-old said.
“Everything that’s been set up is because of him and all the people that he’s put in place and everybody’s still here knuckling down as normal.
“I know he’s done the debrief on the other end and listening to everything that we’re saying, so I think everyone’s behaving as well as they can.”
Hamilton did not take part in a rain-hit first practice session before going fifth fastest in FP2, leaving him behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets second time around.