Despite leading the timesheet in Barcelona, the seven-time world champion was one of many drivers to encounter ‘porpoising’ – a consequence of F1’s new aerodynamics which produce a bouncing effect in straight lines.
Mercedes produced a few temporary fixes to stabilize the effect ahead of a bigger aero upgrade for the second test in Bahrain, with the paddock scratching their heads at the unexpected scale of the problem.
“It’s been an interesting few days,” Hamilton said. “It wasn’t the easiest or the smoothest. We certainly had obstacles to overcome.
“But we went through a lot and of course we would always want more laps, but I’m happy with today. I think I almost did 100 laps today. So for half a day of racing , that’s not too bad.
“[We are] a bit behind the last two days. The car is very different from previous years to drive, as are the tyres. But we are working on it. »
His team-mate George Russell set the second-fastest time in the test on Friday morning but insisted that meant very little, with Ferrari and McLaren catching his eye.
“It was incredibly intriguing and for all of us there were a lot of unexpected issues, which were quite visible,” he told reporters.
“Some teams have it under control quite well, and some clearly don’t. In terms of lap times, I don’t think it’s representative at all.
“We were obviously on the softer tire compound, and the C5 is a very solid tire on this track. So even if we were at the top of the timesheets, I wouldn’t read too much into it.
“I think the Ferrari and the McLaren looked incredibly strong. And I think we have some improvements to make because we’re not entirely happy with the balance of the car and the limitations we have now.