The seven-time world champion, who has claimed eight pole positions at the Australian Grand Prix, was only 13th-fastest in second practice around the modified Albert Park track as he ended up 1.5s down on pacesetter Charles Leclerc. 

Hamilton finished seventh in FP1 but said the afternoon session was compromised because his Mercedes car did not respond to set-up changes he requested. 

“I feel okay, just a difficult session,” said Hamilton. 

“Just nothing we change on the car makes a difference at the moment. So that’s the difficult thing, you get in very optimistic, make changes, and then it doesn’t seem to be wanting to improve. 

“So we made some changes going to P2, P1 was better, and P2 ended up being a bit harder for me. I don’t know, just a tricky car.”

He added: “I don’t think it’s going to be tricky to find out way back, just not a lot we can do, this is the way it is, just have to drive with it. 

“That’s the frustrating thing, you’re trying to push and catch and even when you do a decent lap, it’s 1.2s down so it’s difficult.” 

Mercedes’ 2022 challenger remains unchanged for this weekend’s race as it looks to better understand the porpoising, weight and drag issues its W13 is struggling with. 

So far little progress has been made across the opening two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia but Mercedes is expected to bring updates to the next round in Imola in a bid to address its current weaknesses. 

Russell suffers 'most severe porpoising I've experiened' 

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell fared little better in FP2 on his way to finishing 11th, 1.2s off the pace. 

“We’re not in the position we want to be,” Russell conceded. “There’s quite a few midfield cars ahead of us and obviously quite a long way off the front, so we need to work hard tonight to understand the limitations. 

“The car felt alright, didn’t feel too bad, but was a bit strange on softs I kept improving and improving, but it felt a bit more extravagant from our side of things.”

Porpoising still remains an issue for Mercedes, according to Russell, who reported the bouncing being “probably the most severe I’ve experienced” despite the smoother nature of Albert Park’s newly resurfaced track. 

“We’re definitely porpoising pretty bad into Turn 9 probably most severe I’ve experienced,” he said. 

“But I think it is something we just have to deal with for the time being, we believe it’s the fastest way around the track but maybe it’s not. 

"We need to keep digging into the data and understand we’ve sort of gone from left, right and centre with the set-up and all have resulted in a similar outcome, so we need to try and get on top of things.” 

Not only did Mercedes end Friday practice as the seventh-fastest team over one-lap pace, it also lagged behind main rivals Ferrari and Red Bull during the race simulations carried out in FP2. 

There is just one more hour of practice left on Saturday morning for Mercedes to try and improve its competitiveness before qualifying takes place. 

As things currently stand, it looks highly unlikely that Hamilton will be able maintain his remarkable run of consecutive poles at the Melbourne venue, having topped qualifying at every Australian GP in the turbo-hybrid era.