Hamilton: Win is ‘going to be a while’ if France F1 form continues

Lewis Hamilton believes it is “going to be a while” until Mercedes can fight for Formula 1 wins if its France form continues after qualifying over eight-tenths off pole.

Hamilton: Win is ‘going to be a while’ if France F1 form continues

Mercedes arrived at Paul Ricard hopeful of taking a step toward front-running rivals Red Bull and Ferrari thanks to the smooth surface and track layout that was tipped to play to the strengths of the W13.

But Mercedes failed to get in the thick of the fight at the front through practice before Hamilton and team-mate George Russell could only manage fourth and sixth place respectively in qualifying.

Hamilton said he felt “really good” on his final lap in Q3, calling it a “beautiful lap”, only to end up 0.893 seconds off Charles Leclerc’s pole position time for Ferrari.

“For whatever reason, we seem to be a lot further off this weekend, but then the whole pack is really,” Hamilton said.

“The top two teams are in their own league really. But considering I missed FP1, which definitely does put you on the back foot, I’m really happy with the progress we made, and everyone back at the factory was working really hard with us to make progress.

“We took a step back today, but into qualifying I managed to turn it up.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Mercedes is yet to finish a race any higher than third this year, but Hamilton has been adamant the team will be able to get back into the fight for victories before the season is out.

Asked if he could pinpoint when that win may arrive, Hamilton replied: “Honestly, I came here this weekend hoping that we were going to be within three-tenths of them, and we’re a second [off].

Read Also:

“So with the three-tenths that I was hoping for, and if at the next race we can close a couple of tenths, then we’ll be in the fight in Budapest.

“But if it’s anything like this, then it’s going to be a while. But it’s not impossible.”

Hamilton put the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull down to loss on the straights, noting that his first sector time on his final Q3 lap was “just as quick as those guys.”

“But then it’s all down the straights, we lose a lot,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know what the time is, but it must be at least half a second probably just down the straights.

“And then all through that high-speed section, the last few corners, they’re pulling chunks on us. It’s like they have less drag and more downforce through the corners.”

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff echoed Hamilton’s concerns about how far off a win may be, saying the team had arrived in France “thinking we would race for victory” only to end up “further off than we were before.”

“I hope at the other [tracks] we can have the same swing the other direction,” Wolff said.

“We will find out what happened here and if it's clearly something fundamental, and then [we can] race for victories this year.

“This needs to be still the target because we need direction for next year.”

shares
comments

Related video

Leclerc surprised at Ferrari strength in French GP qualifying
Previous article

Leclerc surprised at Ferrari strength in French GP qualifying

Next article

Sainz: "Frustrating" France F1 penalty hit when "feeling the best with the car"

Sainz: "Frustrating" France F1 penalty hit when "feeling the best with the car"
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023