Hamilton: Mercedes can only "laugh off" F1 car struggles at this point

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes can only “laugh off” its Formula 1 car struggles after a difficult qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Hamilton: Mercedes can only "laugh off" F1 car struggles at this point

Mercedes appeared to make a breakthrough with its W13 car in Hungary ahead of the summer as Hamilton and team-mate George Russell both finished on the podium, with Russell having also started on pole.

But the Silver Arrows slipped back again in qualifying at Spa as Hamilton and Russell could only finish seventh and eighth, a distant 1.8 seconds off Max Verstappen’s fastest time in Q3.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff called the result “unacceptable” and labelled it as the worst qualifying session he had experienced in 10 years.

Asked how disappointing the result was given Mercedes’ momentum before the summer break, Hamilton replied: “I just don’t want to use the word disappointing, because we’ve got to remember that there are 2000 people back at the factory that are working so hard to get it right.

“Of course I wish that we got it right and we brought upgrades that would push us forward, and I wish we were fighting at the front, but it is the way that it is and it hurts. Believe me, it hurts.

“But at this point, you’ve just got to laugh it off and say I am not fighting for a championship. If I get too serious and too low… I’ve got a responsibility to try to keep morale high, as we’ve got to keep pushing, we cannot be discouraged.

“Yes, it sucks and it is slow.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Erik Junius

Hamilton felt Mercedes’ focus had to shift onto next year’s car to ensure it ironed out the characteristics that have made the W13 so difficult for him and Russell to drive.

“That is the biggest gap we’ve ever had in qualifying,” Hamilton said.

“What we do is talk about the meetings we’ll have next week and talk about the steps next and where we want to be with next year’s car, what we can take from our understanding of the car here and apply it to the next car to make sure it is not like this one at all.

“That’s what I’m trying to focus on.”

Read Also:

Despite the qualifying struggles, Hamilton and Russell will start Sunday’s race from fourth and fifth place on the grid thanks to the array of grid penalties dished out for power unit changes.

“That is how crazy it is, we are really slow but starting fourth tomorrow,” Hamilton said.

“Maybe we have a chance to get into the podium position, who knows? We’ve just got to stay optimistic.

“I don’t think this weekend that [the car] has told me that it wants to win. But maybe I’ll have a conversation with it tonight and tomorrow it’ll be a bit more responsive.”

shares
comments

Related video

Autosport writers' favourite F1 Belgian Grands Prix
Previous article

Autosport writers' favourite F1 Belgian Grands Prix

Next article

Belgian GP to remain on F1 calendar in 2023

Belgian GP to remain on F1 calendar in 2023
The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver Plus

The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver

The unrelenting grasp of the tax man prompts most racing drivers to move to the likes of Monaco, Switzerland or Dubai. But, as OLEG KARPOV found out, Kevin Magnussen is quite happy where he is, thank you very much – at home, with his family, in Denmark

Formula 1
Oct 5, 2022
How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in Plus

How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in

OPINION: Sergio Perez’s Singapore triumph arrested a big decline in his Formula 1 performances against Max Verstappen at Red Bull since his Monaco win. He now needs to maintain his form to the season’s end, while others are also seeking a change in fortunes

Formula 1
Oct 5, 2022
How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap Plus

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap

OPINION: On Wednesday, the FIA will issue F1 teams with compliance certificates if they stuck to the 2021 budget cap. But amid rumours of overspending, the governing body must set a critical precedent. It needs to carefully pick between revisiting the bitterness of Abu Dhabi, a contradictory punishment and ensuring parity for the rest of the ground-effect era

Formula 1
Oct 4, 2022
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022