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Hamilton: Mercedes still exposed by F1 qualifying weakness

 Hamilton: Mercedes still exposed by F1 qualifying weakness

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ W15 2024 System 1 automobile has an inherent weak point on tyre efficiency that is simplest uncovered when pushing at the limit in qualifying.

Hamilton licensed third on the grid for Sunday’s Spanish Huge Prix at Barcelona – his finest consequence of the 2024 season to this level.

The seven-time world champion had beforehand obtained no bigger than seventh in non-lumber qualifying this time length, with notable tumbles from tough alter to showings to disappointing qualifying ends in Bahrain and Canada.

After leading FP2 at Barcelona, Hamilton used to be doubtful if Mercedes may perhaps well “explore if we can abet onto the Purple Bulls and the Ferraris and McLarens” in qualifying.

In that session, he in the end done in the abet of simplest McLaren pole-winner Lando Norris and Purple Bull’s Max Verstappen, and ended up sooner than team-mate George Russell for the third time in their 2024 GP qualifying head-to-head.

When requested by Autosport what he felt had made the distinction to hold away from a alter to-qualifying dip this time spherical, Hamilton said: “I silent in reality feel like I misplaced efficiency going into quali.

“Or no longer it is all about standpoint [though]. Presumably they accurate moved forwards, but I surely in reality feel like there used to be relatively bit more [to extract].

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, parks the automobile in Parc Ferme

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, parks the automobile in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Photos

“Nevertheless accurate as you birth up to push the automobile, it doesn’t like it. So, in alter to, ought to you enable relatively little bit of margin, the automobile feels rather nice.

“Nevertheless or no longer it is ought to you birth up to in point of fact lean on it to test out and fetch that extra little bit of lap time out the put we in reality war. And I reflect or no longer it is all in the tyres.

“So, you observed in P1, I was seven tenths down as a consequence of a anxiousness with the blankets. And then we obtained it sorted for the following lessons.

“It puts you relatively bit on the abet foot. Nevertheless yeah, in every other case, the automobile, or no longer it is appropriate that we’re up here and or no longer it is the accurate qualifying I’ve had this year, so I’m in reality grateful for it.”

The tyre anxiousness Hamilton refers to has been discussed internally at Mercedes, which has renowned it arises when its drivers are in reality leaning on the rubber with deeper braking aspects when looking to get every on hand tenth in the final laps in opposition to the clock.

Hamilton also said while there used to be doubtlessly “relatively bit more efficiency in the automobile” in Barcelona qualifying, he felt it used to be “in reality on the knife edge” by system of finest coping with spherical the tyre weak point.

“So, now we occupy obtained some enhancements to create to the automobile,” he added.

“Nevertheless I’m in reality cosy to be P3. It’s a comely appropriate space to be in for the starting up up with that prolonged straight down to Turn 1 [for the race start behind the two drivers on the front row].”

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