F1 CURSE: Lewis Hamilton has been plagued by a series of reliability issues at Mercedes in 2016. Image: AP
Barcelona, Spain - Lewis Hamilton just cannot get things to go his way in Formula 1 in 2016 so far.
While Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was upbeat after setting the fastest time in practice at the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday, Hamilton was left looking for more answers on how to improve his setup ahead of Saturday's qualifying.
Hamilton was only fourth fastest after the two practice sessions in Barcelona on Friday, saying there was a lot of work left to get the car to handle the way he wanted.
Rosberg has had a perfect start to the season with four wins in as many races, while Hamilton has struggled with mechanical failures and bad luck.
'Felt really tricky to drive'
The three-time world champion was hoping to start turning things around in Barcelona, but his first day out on the track didn't give him much hope.
"That wasn't an easy day for me," Hamilton said. "I struggled with the car balance through the day and this afternoon in particular felt really tricky to drive."
Hamilton was more than half a second slower than his teammate, finishing fourth in the first training session and third in the second.
"I had traffic on my quick lap, so the lap times don't tell the full story," he said. "But it's clear we have plenty of work to do this evening to get the car driving like I want it to. But we will get our heads down this evening, work through the data, and I'm confident we can pull things around for tomorrow."
Rosberg had another easy day and seemed poised to continue to dominate and extend his seven-race winning streak.
"It was a good start for us," said Rosberg, who already has a 43-point lead over Hamilton after the first four races.
To make things more difficult for Hamilton, Ferrari showed good pace and looked set to challenge the Mercedes duo in qualifying and in the race on Sunday.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel led the first practice session and finished the day with a time that was only three hundreds of a second slower than Rosberg's. His Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was third overall on the day.
"Our performance is quite close to Ferrari and we will therefore be working hard overnight to optimize the car setup and performance for qualifying and race conditions," said Paddy Lowe, the team's technical executive director.