By Alan Baldwin
SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) – Triple Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was left looking for lost speed after Mercedes team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg dominated practice at the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.
“I was pole last year, obviously, and I usually eventually get there but right from the get-go I just don’t feel great on this track, I don’t know why,” the Briton told reporters after lapping second fastest in both sessions.
Rosberg is the only current Formula One driver to have won in Austria, victorious in the two races there since the sport ended an 11-year absence and returned in 2014. Hamilton was runner-up both times.
“It’s just in me, I’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and see if I can find the time myself because the car’s fine,” added Hamilton after a day of sunshine and heavy showers at the track surrounded by forested hills.
“I know where the time is, I’ve just not got it.”
Hamilton is 24 points adrift of Rosberg in the world championship after eight races, with the German winning five times to his two. There are 13 rounds remaining.
Both Mercedes drivers have new power units for Sunday’s race at a ‘power circuit’ that favors the dominant Mercedes engines. In both 2014 and 2015 only drivers with the German units stood on the podium.
“I’m not that quick, to be honest, but tomorrow I hope I can pick up the pace. Nico is much, much quicker today. I have to try to find that,” said Hamilton, who was 0.357 of a second slower than Rosberg in the dry first session.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)