Hamilton ponders 'dry dance' as Mercedes left in dark over struggles


Spielberg bei Knittelfeld (Austria) (AFP)

A puzzled Lewis Hamilton said Friday he may try a "dry dance" to avoid starting Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix from sixth, or worse, on the grid.

The six-time world champion said he and his team were unable to explain his loss of speed in practice after he had reeled off a clean sweep by topping all three sessions last weekend at the same Red Bull Ring circuit.

Team boss Toto Wolff said Mercedes were "in the dark" as they worked to find the solution to a delicate handling issue that has undermined Hamilton so far this weekend.

And with torrential rain forecast to wash out qualifying on Saturday, many teams were preparing on the basis that Friday's second session result may create the grid positions.

"That would definitely suck," said Hamilton. "If we don't get to qualify and we have to start there, in sixth.

"I'd be starting further back than I was last week. It would definitely make it challenging, but I think I'll try to do the 'dry dance', if there is one."

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won last Sunday, had no problems Friday and was second behind Red Bull’'s Max Verstappen on the possible provisional grid.

Hamilton was six-tenths of a second adrift of Bottas in FP2 and said his car "felt quite far off" adding that "there's more work needed in the background to try and figure out why."

Wolff said he was perturbed by Hamilton's struggles.

"We are still feeling a little in the dark, especially with Lewis's time, because there is a problem with the car. What is it? If only we new."