Lewis Hamilton admits big setup changes are needed if he is to bounceback after a "pretty terrible" Friday practice for the Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix.

Hamilton trailed Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in both practice sessions with the Finn setting the pace in both.

The current championship leader was just 0.3s shy of Bottas in FP1, but in the afternoon session, Hamilton was unable to get a clean lap on the board as he ended the day 1.3s off Bottas' pace in eighth.

 

Having been content with the balance of his Mercedes in the morning session, Hamilton conceded the setup changes made for FP2 simply didn’t work.

“It really has [been difficult to get a good balance],” Hamilton said. “P1 was probably the better session for me even though the car didn’t feel that great. Then we made some changes into this one and it felt pretty terrible in P2.

“We need to take a few steps back to figure out where we went wrong with the setup and see if we can improve for tomorrow.”

The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve plays host to an F1 grand prix for the first time this weekend and its newly re-surfaced tarmac is contributing to a difficult weekend for the drivers.

Hamilton believes the combination of track surface harder tyres - Pirelli has brought the three hardest tryes in its range to Portimao - and the strong winds made it especially tricky in Friday practice.

“Massively challenging,” Hamilton added. “The undulations are incredible. There’s a lot of places where you can’t see where you’re going. The exit of Turn 8, you’re looking at the sky for a period of time and you have no idea what’s beyond the hill.

“Also into [Turn] 11, you don’t know where you’re are and all of a sudden it arrives at you out of nowhere. Very challenging and the surface is very smooth, you see a lot of people making mistakes, sliding and spinning. It’s not been an easy day.

“It’s also really difficult to get the tyres in the window for the first lap here, even with the soft. Naturally, they are hard tyres, it’s the hardest range of tyres on the circuit like this, it should be to be expected I would say.”

 

 

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