‘No more experiments’ for Merc as Lewis Hamilton concedes “that’s just our pace”

Lewis Hamilton concedes "that's just the pace of the car" after qualifying 12th for the Miami sprint race.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Lewis Hamilton has admitted Mercedes just have to “accept” their current performance after a disappointing qualifying for the F1 Miami Grand Prix sprint race.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari in 2025, was knocked out in SQ2 with only the 12th-fastest time as he finished a tenth behind teammate George Russell, who was also eliminated in 11th.

Hamilton hit the wall lightly on his final run in the second part of qualifying but ultimately felt he had extracted everything from his troublesome W15.

“The car felt really good in P1 and then qualifying, it didn’t feel terrible, it’s just we’re seven tenths off. That’s just the pace of our car,” Hamilton said.

“I think the sprint race is going to be tough. We’re in 12th so don’t expect a huge amount from there to be honest. It’s not an easy circuit to overtake on or to follow.

“Just trying to step into the points somehow, if we can.”

It will be a worry for Mercedes after the team’s latest upgrades appeared to do little to improve their underwhelming 2024 challenger’s performance.

After blaming his recent qualifying woes on aggressive set-up experiments, Hamilton confirmed Mercedes have now abandoned that approach.

“No more experiments,” he explained. “We’ve just been trying to make the car work.

“I feel like we extracted everything from the car, and that’s just our pace. We just have to accept that for the moment, we’re seven tenths off.”

Russell said: “In practice the soft tyre was feeling really good but on the medium couldn’t find the sweet spot and found ourselves on the wrong side of it.

“We need to work hard and find some improvements for the main qualifying. We need to try and get on top of our qualifying woes.”

But he had a slightly more positive outlook for the sprint race, adding: "I've got no doubt we will move forward.” 

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