Happier Hamilton praises Mercedes progress

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Lewis Hamilton was far from his usual dominant self at Sochi, but this weekend he is hoping that he and Mercedes are back on the right track in Spain.

Hamilton topped both morning and afternoon free practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday. His team mate Valtteri Bottas was just a few hundredths of a second slower, with Ferrari the best of the rest.

That's a far cry from the situation in Russia two weeks ago, where Ferrari had the upper hand from the start.

“It’s been a much better start to the weekend for me than in Sochi so I’m very happy," agreed Hamilton.

"First practice was very, very good. But in second practice the track changed and shifted quite a lot.

"It was slippery and quite a lot slower for everyone, especially with the gusts of wind. It was massively challenging but still fun nonetheless."

With Formula 1 returning to Europe for the first time in 2017, the teams are getting a chance to roll out their first significant upgrades of the season.

"The team has done an amazing job with the upgrades," said Hamilton. "The car is working just as we expected.

"We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep working," he emphasised. "We want to be number one."

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