Hamilton believes he should be qualifying ahead of Russell

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Hamilton believes he should be qualifying ahead of Russell

Formula 1

Hamilton believes he should be qualifying ahead of Russell

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Lewis Hamilton says he believes he should be qualifying ahead of teammate George Russell given Mercedes’ potential at the Spanish Grand Prix, but he’s struggling with the car’s handling.

Russell gave Mercedes its best performance of the season so far with fourth on the grid in Barcelona, with Hamilton only 0.1s slower than his teammate but two places further back. While encouraged by the steps that Mercedes has made with upgrades in Spain, Hamilton says the standards he expects of himself leave him frustrated to not be getting more out of the car.

“We don’t have the bouncing in the straight line which is a huge, huge difference but we still have some bouncing in Turn 3 and Turn 9,” Hamilton said. “We’ve still got some improvements to make, so the car’s a lot better. In Q2 we were the quickest, so that’s a massive positive for us as a team. Qualifying wasn’t great for me but it is great to see us stepping forward.

“I am not really putting my mind to [the championship]. I am still way off. My teammate is fourth so that means the car should have been at least third or fourth, and I am in sixth. I am still struggling with the car. I don’t know how to get around that; I don’t know what I am going to do but I will just continue trying to work hard and figure that out.

“I’m just struggling with the car. I just had no rear end in the car in the qualifying session.”

Despite his own personal disappointment, Hamilton says the overall atmosphere at Mercedes is good after showing they’re heading in the right direction with car development.

“I have 100% confidence in the team. Now that we have made that step, it is something we have not seen for five races. Finally we have seen that step and I think we have a better idea of the direction we need to go. Now I am just waiting for the engineers’ analysis to come through with some more bits for us to progress. Places like Monaco have slower corners so hopefully we will be better there, so that’s positive.

“Seeing upgrades coming — I think everyone is feeling more positive, even the mechanics. Any type of progress is a great thing. Everyone is committed; everyone is trying as hard as they can. It is great to see everyone positive.”

Russell believes Mercedes will be more competitive in race trim, adding to the feeling of momentum surrounding the team.

“Obviously it’s all based on results and that was the best result we had as a team all season. I think it offers optimism. To be honest, we didn’t have the tires in the right window. We were always quickest in sector one and struggling in sector three and we just couldn’t find that right balance.

“Ferrari look extremely fast this weekend but I think we’ve got a better race car than we do a qualifying car, so I’m really proud of the job everyone has done in the factory these last weeks and months because I think we’ve now got a package that can be our foundation for us to build upon.”

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