‘Like I was in a different category’ - Lewis Hamilton's damning Mercedes verdict as he urges “big changes”

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes require "big changes" after a difficult F1 race in Saudi Arabia.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2,…

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes need “big changes” to compete with their F1 rivals after feeling like he was racing “in a different category” at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion could only finish ninth in Jeddah after being unable to find a way past McLaren’s Lando Norris during a late race squabble over the lower-end of the points.

Both Hamilton and teammate George Russell, who was sixth, finished behind Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso who drive for Mercedes customers McLaren and Aston Martin.

Hamilton was quick to point out the weakness of his Mercedes W15 in high-speed corners compared to the McLaren.

“The car is relatively good in the low-speed and not so bad in the medium but in the high-speed we are miles off,” Hamilton confessed.

“It was like I was in a different category when I was going through the high-speed compared to the other guys around me.

“It’s frustrated for sure to be, for three years in a row, to almost be in the same position.

“It’s definitely tough but we’ll get our heads down and keep working working away. I know everyone back at the factory is pushing as hard as they can.

“But we definitely need to make some big changes. We haven’t made big enough changes perhaps. 

“If you look at the three teams ahead of us, they still have a different concept to where we are in some areas. So we have some performance to add, that’s for sure.”

Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL38 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi
Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL38 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1…

Like Norris, Hamilton ran an offset strategy, running long in the first stint before fitting soft tyres in the closing stages in the hope they could use their extra grip to catch those ahead.

Despite the gamble not working as hoped, Hamilton was pleased his Mercedes team tried something different.

“I think it was worth trying something different, splitting the cars and trying the different strategies,” he said.

“Ultimately, that’s always the goal, to try and do something a little bit different, particularly when we are in the position we are in.

“I was fighting as hard as I could to go long and I was hoping for a Safety Car or something, but was just unfortunate.” 

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