The seven-time world champion ended the dry second practice session at the Hungaroring down in 16th on the timesheets, with team-mate George Russell in last, as the pair each used just a single set of mediums throughout.

But while aware that the squad was on a different programme to everyone else, Hamilton had a pretty downbeat assessment on the feeling from his W14.

“It wasn't feeling good,” he said. “It was feeling like the car at its worst today.

“But we will work on the set-up tonight and hopefully tomorrow, like last year where it felt terrible at the beginning, you turn it around with some set-up changes.

“So, we're working on that tonight. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.”

Russell was slightly more optimistic about where Mercedes stood in real terms, as he was equally aware that his team often has difficult Fridays before steadily improving over the course of the weekend.

“It didn't feel too bad in all honesty,” he said. “We were obviously on very different programmes to everybody else, as we only used one set of tyres throughout. It was a set of used tyres as well from FP1.

“So, the lap times don’t really give a true representation, and I'm sure tomorrow will be better. But we're still just focused on trying to improve.

“We always know that we sort of tend to get better as the weekend progresses, which is the right way round for it to be. There were a few interesting things we learned even in that one session, so let's see what we can do tonight.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Russell felt that the focus for improvements needed to come from better tyre management, both in terms of switching them on for qualifying and then managing them in the race.

“We are struggling just with a bit of overall grip,” added the Briton. “I don't think the tyres are in the right window, both at low fuel and high fuel.

“So, we just need to understand why that was: if we need to take a faster out-lap or slower out-lap for the qualifying stint, and for the race run if we need to be pushing harder or managing more.

“These things are a little bit difficult sometimes when you are in a cockpit, without having to look at the data to understand actually the tyres are on the cooler or the hotter side, and what do they exactly need to go a bit faster.

“As I said, it wasn't our best day for sure. But it's not the first time I've said that on a Friday evening. And Saturday and Sunday often is better.”

Related video: