Despite losing out to Ferrari in Friday’s practices, Lewis Hamilton says there is “still everything to play for” at the Russian Grand Prix.
Although Mercedes arrived at the Sochi circuit with a perfect record of three wins in three races, it was Ferrari who took charge on Friday.
Kimi Raikkonen was quickest in FP1 before Sebastian Vettel replaced him at the top of the timesheets in the afternoon’s session.
Mercedes were third and fourth with Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton seven-tenths off the pace.
It was clear in Practice Two that not everything was going Hamilton’s way as the Brit struggled to get in a clean lap.
He finished the day with a 1:34.829.
“It was a bit of a difficult day for us,” said Hamilton.
“We managed to complete everything that we needed to do on our runs but in terms of the balance of the car, the Ferrari seemed very, very fast on the long runs, so we need to work out how we can improve our pace.
“But there’s still everything to play for.
“The tyres feel very peaky, so it’s easy to drop out of the window of performance. But when they’re working they seem to be good.”
Asked about Mercedes’ record at the Russian GP, which includes a 100 percent of laps led during grands prix, the Brit stated that even that doesn’t guarantee Mercedes will be successful this weekend.
“There is no such thing as a guarantee for winning – not even here!” he told the official F1 website.
“If we win this weekend then it will be because we have worked very hard for it and not because of the opinion that people have that this is a ‘Mercedes track’!
“We have to earn it fair and square!
“We have to find some changes that will help us get back to the strength that we had and that Ferrari obviously has at this very moment.
“I am sure that we will achieve it – and in one thing people are right: this is a different track to Melbourne and Bahrain – so everything is blown wide open for Sunday!”