Lewis Hamilton has said he had a better feeling with his Mercedes car back in winter testing at the Circuit de Catalunya after a tricky first day of practice ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Barcelona track acts as the perfect measuring stick as drivers and teams return to the scene of pre-season following four race weekends so far this season.
Just 0.049 seconds separated Hamilton from Bottas at the top of the FP2 timesheet, but the five-time World Champion noticeably struggled with balance and grip throughout the day.
That prompted him to say that he felt the W10 was better to drive in the winter, but he still retains some confidence heading into qualifying.
“It’s been an interesting day,” Hamilton told the official Formula 1 website.
“It’s been quite windy out there and tricky with grip levels, particularly between the three different tyre compounds.
“But we got through our programmes no problem and lots to analyse tonight as always.
“The car has changed a lot, but in the winter when the temperatures are cooler it probably felt better then.
“I don’t know if we are going quicker [than winter testing] but it just feels harder today with the track. It’s not particularly great in terms of grip.
“There is a lot of sliding around on the tyres and compared to the winter on the last day…that actually felt really good.
“But then again that is probably on lighter fuel loads and everything so obviously when we get to qualifying it will hopefully be a different story.”
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 10, 2019
Asked if he was still optimistic going into qualifying, Hamilton responded: “Yeah, I think Ferrari are gaining something like four tenths on the straights, I don’t know if that’s because they are up on power or…
“But for us, we’ve got work to do with the balance, but it’s still really positive for us to be up there [after Friday practice].”
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