Lewis Hamilton has struck out at some of his Formula 1 rivals for failing to consider other drivers when on the race track - after he claims he was 'compromised' when in search of a quick lap time during opening practice for the European Grand Prix.

The F1 World Championship leader ultimately ended the first day fifth-fastest, just over two tenths of a second shy of the leading pace. Whilst he admitted to being confident about his chances over the remainder of the weekend, he sought to point out that some of his colleagues should perhaps choose to show a little more concern for others when out on the circuit.

"I took things step-by-step," the McLaren-Mercedes star related in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, "and tried to improve the car's balance throughout the day. All the time I'm out there, I'm learning new things about the track.

"It's just a matter of finding the right pieces and putting the puzzle together. It was a good day, apart from one little spin, and I think we've started on the right foot.

"Considering the dustiness of the track, we made a very promising start on set-up in the morning. We were able to go quicker on each run without changing too much, and we took a very good baseline into the afternoon session.

"In P2, our adjustments were again spot-on, but the sheer volume of traffic meant it was difficult to immediately confirm our final set-up changes. Some drivers just lift off the throttle and end up in your way.

"They are trying to create a gap ahead, for the sake of a clear, fast lap, but they don't care who might already be on a quick lap behind them. That compromises things. Nonetheless, we're in pretty good shape and I'm looking forward to [qualifying]."

Though dismayed by what he evidently deemed to be his rivals' disregard for track etiquette around the harbour-side streets of Valencia's all-new Juan Carlos I Marina circuit, Hamilton did confess to having been inspired by Great Britain's spectacular run of success in the Beijing Olympic Games. Now, he underlined, it is his turn.

"I have been watching a bit of the Olympics," the 23-year-old reflected. "I am just so pleased Team GB has done so well. It is good for the country.

"When the national football team doesn't get through to a major championship - as happened earlier this summer - the whole nation seems down, but there is such a huge feel-good factor right now.

"After the success of the Olympics, it would be great if the football team could start well in the World Cup qualifiers, and then we could have a British Formula 1 world champion as well.

"I am working hard to fulfil my side of the bargain. Watching the Olympics has been an absolute inspiration, when you see people who are not professionals giving everything and training as hard as they can. They are just so hungry for victory, and I can extract quite a lot from that."