Hamilton could only finish seventh, while team-mate and championship leader Jenson Button came in ninth, as the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso dominated both sessions.
But despite falling just short of the early pace, Hamilton believes the car is primed for a winning weekend.
“We weren’t at the top of the times but the car felt good and I love being on this track,” said Hamilton. “We’ve made some good step forwards with the set-up. I think we’re looking pretty good for the weekend.
“Saturday is going to be tough, [but] I hope the weather is going to be good for us and really we just have to keep our heads down and make sure we do our homework and fight for the top three in qualifying.”
Alonso’s lap of 1.14.904secs was 0.109secs clear of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was third ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa while Michael Schumacher, a five-time a winner here, was fifth.