Hamilton feeling ‘a little bit slow’ after Qatar F1 Friday practice

Lewis Hamilton says he feels “a little bit slow” compared to the other Formula 1 front-runners after Friday’s practice running for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Hamilton feeling ‘a little bit slow’ after Qatar F1 Friday practice

Hamilton heads into the Qatar weekend on a high after charging from 10th on the grid to win in Brazil last Sunday, cutting Red Bull rival Max Verstappen’s championship lead down to 14 points.

Practice on Friday at the Losail International Circuit saw Verstappen and Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, lead FP1 and FP2 respectively.

Hamilton finished 0.7 seconds off Verstappen in FP1, and was over four-tenths off Bottas’s time in FP2, ending the day fourth in the timesheets.

Drivers have faced an added challenge in getting their set-ups dialled in on Friday as they have no previous data to work from in Qatar, with Hamilton admitting he still didn’t feel entirely comfortable.

“I don’t even know how big the gap is, but I’m off,” Hamilton said.

"I’m definitely not close.”

Hamilton said he had “no clue” if he would be going wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen again this weekend after their Brazil fight, adding: “As I said, I’m a little bit slow, so I need to figure that out tonight.”

Verstappen finished just ahead of Hamilton in FP2, taking third behind Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, but also felt he had more work to do overnight.

“It was the first time of course in the evening, so it was important to understand how the car would react,” Verstappen said after topping FP1 in daytime.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“[There was] quite a bit of a change between the medium and the soft tyre for me. That’s why I think on the soft tyre it wasn’t so amazing.

"But again, the first time here, so a lot of things to understand.”

Verstappen was impressed by the fast-flowing nature of the Losail track, but was unsure how the current F1 cars would fare in the race given the difficulty of following.

“it’s been a lot of fun to drive to be honest,” Verstappen said.

“I think it’s a really cool track. [It’s] difficult to say for the race. With these cars anyway, it’s very tough to follow. I think over one lap anyway, it’s going to be good.”

Both drivers brushed off the stewards’ decision to deny Mercedes’ request to review their Turn 4 incident in Brazil that was announced ahead of FP2.

“I don’t have any thoughts on it, because I was not a part of it, and [have] been focusing on trying to do my weekend,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen added it was “nice” to have a decision through, but felt it was “also expected”.

shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes: No score marks on F1 rear wing
Previous article

Mercedes: No score marks on F1 rear wing

Next article

F1 Qatar GP qualifying: Start time, how to watch & more

F1 Qatar GP qualifying: Start time, how to watch & more
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021