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Hamilton: Miami F1 struggles feel like a "kick in the gut"

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ slump in second practice for Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix felt like a "kick in the gut" after the promise shown in the first session.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The seven-time world champion had been right behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell as they topped the timesheets in FP1, but his form fell away in the evening practice session as Hamilton ended up seventh – nearly one second adrift of pace-setter Max Verstappen.

Reflecting on the struggles to find a good balance with the car, Hamilton said that the contrast of performance over the day had been hard to take.

“We're not particularly quick and it's a struggle out there,” he said. “We're just trying lots of different things.  

“P1 looked quite good, but then to come into P2, and the true pace comes out, it's just a kick in the gut. It's a little bit difficult to take sometimes, but we'll just keep on working on it, and we’ll regroup to try and see if we can make some set-up changes to get the car in the sweet spot.”

While Mercedes’ situation had looked encouraging at the Australian Grand Prix as the squad was able to challenge Red Bull, things have been more difficult recently.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

And Hamilton felt that beyond the steps Mercedes had made over the winter to cure porpoising, the performance of its W14 had felt no better than the difficult 2022 car.

“Melbourne was a night and day difference, and it was much, much nicer to drive there,” he said. “Baku felt better than here, so I think maybe it’s the heat or maybe just the balance we have at the moment.   

“I'm going to stay optimistic and I'm going to stay hopeful that we can get the car in a better place and maybe be a couple of steps up.

“But it feels like, apart from the last year when we had hardcore bouncing, it generally feels like we're racing pretty much the same car. And so that's the difficult thing.”  

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Hamilton said that the current pace of the Mercedes also proved how ‘desperate’ the team was for the next race at Imola when a major update is due to arrive.

“I’m trying to stay positive with it and we're working as hard as we can,” he said. “It's just we desperately need those upgrades, that's for sure. 

“We have just got to keep our head down for one more race and hopefully we'll start a new path at the next race.”

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