A somewhat downcast and dispirited Lewis Hamilton left the Silverstone circuit on Friday afternoon with what seemed like the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Hamilton is desperate for a victory in Sunday's race, not only to extend his lead in the World Drivers' Championship but also to give his adoring fans something to cheer on Sunday afternoon.
Mercedes driver Hamilton was quoted as saying he is "in trouble" unless he can find a way to improve the performance of his car.
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Following his second place to teammate Nico Rosberg at the Austrian Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Hamilton was hoping that clutch problems with his Mercedes car would be resolved in plenty of time for him to out-perform Rosberg this weekend.
In first practice on Friday morning, Hamilton was fastest even after an early spin, until Rosberg went out on to the track with about ten minutes of the session left and beat Hamilton's time by seven-hundredths of a second. Rosberg himself had engine problems in the first session, which meant a lot of time spent in the pits trying to resolve a hydraulic issue.
In the afternoon session, Rosberg was fastest, over three-tenths of a second faster than Ferrari drivers Raikkonen and Vettel and four-tenths of a second quicker than teammate Hamilton who was fighting a losing battle with his car's performance.
It looks as though Hamilton and his race engineers will be spending a long Friday night trying to work out where the problems are coming from, resolving them, and getting out on to the track on Saturday afternoon, in a position to challenge Rosberg for pole position.
It is not the end of Hamilton's chances of winning the Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon if he isn't on pole position, but it would definitely help his cause if he was, and a victory in front of home support would ease the pain of the defeat in Austria a couple of weeks ago, as well as extend his points lead in the drivers championship.
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