Lewis Hamilton now knows ‘exactly where W15 is not strong enough’

A positive-sounding Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes now have a direction to push their W15 F1 car.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Lewis Hamilton says he know knows “exactly” where Mercedes’ 2024 F1 car is “not strong enough” and will advise the team to push for improvements.

The seven-time world champion enjoyed his best qualifying of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix as he claimed seventh on the grid at Suzuka, some seven tenths adrift of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Hamilton ended his run of qualifying defeats to teammate George Russell, who was ninth, and was encouraged by the performance of his W15 challenger.

"I was giving it everything,” Hamilton said. "The team did a really great job this past week making adjustments to our set-up.

“This is actually the first weekend I've not gone crazy with set-up and am not testing a bunch of things, so I'm back to a bit more normal. I think we've got the car into a much nicer working window and so it's been really enjoyable driving, it's just the guys are just a little bit faster.

"We were a second or just over a second off last year to the Red Bull and seven tenths is better. Maybe if we had done something a little bit different maybe we could have been another tenth faster, maybe, but other than that that was everything.

"I think what it's giving us is I know exactly where the car is not strong enough, I can feel it in the car, and I know now to be tell them to 'push in this particular area'. But I'm hoping the race will be stronger tomorrow.”

Asked if that means Mercedes now have a direction to go in, Hamilton replied: "I personally believe so, yeah.

"What we have noticed is track to track it has been really really hard to get the set-up right and it has been so far out each time. In some places it has felt like nothing we can do gets the car in a sweet spot.

“But this weekend it's much more in the sweet spot and so I hope that continues in the following races. Then we've just got to add performance."

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