Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Valtteri Bottas looked “much more comfortable” with the W10 car through Friday’s practice running for the Chinese Grand Prix, leaving the team searching answers for the Briton’s struggles.

Hamilton finished second in the opening practice session before dropping to P4 in FP2, finishing over six-tenths of a second off the pace as Bottas topped the session.

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Hamilton spoke about his struggles after the session, saying there was work to do for Mercedes to understand why he was not yet at ease with the car at the Shanghai International Circuit.

“I was struggling with the car today, so we've got work to do, particularly on my side as Valtteri looked much more comfortable in the car,” Hamilton said.

“We're going to work hard tonight to find some tweaks and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow. The car has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up.

“It is nice to see how close it is between us, Red Bull and Ferrari. As we expected, the Ferraris still look quicker on the straights, but overall it's very close between the top cars and I anticipate that it is going to be the same tomorrow.”

Mercedes chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin echoed Hamilton’s thoughts: “Valtteri has been fairly happy with the car all day, just trying to put a bit more front end into it over the sessions.

“Lewis hasn't found the car as easy to work with and we need to do some investigation overnight to understand why.

“Ferrari and Red Bull are all doing decent times on long runs and short runs so it looks like it will be tight but we have some scope to improve things overnight.”

While pace-setter Bottas was content with his performance, he too said there was room for improvement for Mercedes heading into the remainder of the weekend, with just four-tenths of a second covering the top three teams in FP2.

“The day ended up ok, we made it to the top of the timesheets, but it is always very difficult to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track,” Bottas said.

“We got there step by step and the car was feeling ok in the end, but it's only Friday and it's the next two days that count.

“Ferrari still seem to be quicker than us on the straights, whereas we were better in most corners in FP2.

“We still have room for improvement, but we know the others are going to work hard on their cars as well, so we're going to have to wait and how much we can improve in relation to them.”

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