Mercedes pilot Lewis Hamilton has insisted he remains 'optimistic' for the 2013 F1 Belgian Grand Prix, despite a rather woeful start to the weekend.

Hamilton was only 15th in the damp morning session, and while he improved slightly in the afternoon, when conditions were dry, he still wound up outside the top ten, only twelfth quickest on a 1 minute 50.751 seconds.

That left him 0.150 seconds off his team-mate, Nico Rosberg in P9 and almost 1.5 seconds off the pace set by Sebastian Vettel.

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"We have some work ahead of us this evening to get the car feeling just right but overall today was a reasonable start to the weekend," Hamilton insisted.

"The car feels very different here with the low downforce set-up, compared to at the last race [in Hungary], and we need to refine a few areas to get the balance sorted. We were able to get some good long run work done today though, and that's the most important thing for the race.

"We've got time to make the changes required so I'm optimistic that tomorrow will see an improvement."

Rosberg also tried to put a positive spin on things, although to be fair he did seem a little more competitive in the other F1 W04.

"It's great to be back at the Spa circuit. I'm not entirely sure where we are compared to the others but it looks like it will be quite a tough challenge and, of course, it is a completely different track here to at the last race," he added.

"Today went pretty well for us though and it could be an interesting weekend, particularly with the mixed weather conditions that are predicted."

"There were lots of new parts to test, we got that work done successfully and once the drivers had settled into their race simulation runs this afternoon, the lap times looked pretty respectable," summarised team principal, Ross Brawn.

"We still have some work to do on our single lap pace but we think we know what needs to be done there in order to improve," he concluded.