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Hamilton searching for answers with Mercedes lacking 'everywhere'

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Mercedes are slower than pre-event expectations following the first day of practice for the French Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes are lacking "everywhere" compared to where the team thought they would be at the Circuit Paul Ricard. Mercedes had been tipped to perform well on the smooth track surface, given their strong showings at Barcelona and Silverstone earlier in the season. But the Silver Arrows had a low-key first day in France, with team boss Toto Wolff describing the updated W13's initial performance as "underwhelming" . After sitting out first practice to give Formula 2 and Formula E title winner Nyck de Vries a 'young driver' session run, Hamilton clocked the fifth-fastest time in FP2, a second off the pace set by Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. George Russell was a tenth quicker than Hamilton in the other Mercedes.

Hamilton: We have a lot of work to do

Assessing his afternoon behind the wheel, Hamilton pointed to a long night ahead in the Mercedes camp. "We have a lot of work to do, a lot of ground to cover still," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com , after praising the "great job" de Vries did in FP1. "The car is not spectacular here. We don't know why, but I'm sure... hopefully, overnight, we can make a bit of a step." Pushed on where his car is lacking at the moment, Hamilton replied: "Just everywhere. It's just every corner. "I mean, I'm gonna have to dig deep into the data, but it just feels like we're lacking downforce today. Otherwise, it's okay."

Hamilton still thinks a podium could be possible

As for what he and Mercedes might be able to achieve this weekend, Hamilton said: "Today we were fourth and fifth, so that's kind of the region we'll be fighting for. "But that doesn't mean that we can't be on the podium. I think we can still be up there, just still not as quick as those front guys and a little bit further back than we were in the last race." Hamilton also expects tyre degradation to be a critical factor in the extremely hot conditions. "I only go three or four laps [of race running] at the end there. It's quite a bit of degradation," he commented. "It's very hot. The track [surface] is over 55 degrees, so I think it's gonna be tough. I'd be surprised if it's a one-stop [strategy] for people, but I might be wrong."

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