Hamilton can't wait to be rid of 2022 Mercedes

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Hamilton can't wait to be rid of 2022 Mercedes

Formula 1

Hamilton can't wait to be rid of 2022 Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton says he can’t wait to get rid of the 2022 Mercedes after qualifying 1.8s behind Max Verstappen at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Verstappen already had a grid penalty that sees him start a long way down the order, but he duly posted the fastest lap of qualifying by over 0.6s ahead of Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez. One race on from George Russell’s pole position in Hungary, Mercedes had hopes of being close to the top two teams but Hamilton was the lead driver and will start fourth behind Fernando Alonso.

“Everyone’s working for improvements. We came here very, very optimistic that we would be able to be close — half a second, who knows,” Hamilton said. “To be 1.8s behind, it’s a real kick in the teeth, but it is what it is.

“It’s a car we continue to struggle with and I definitely won’t miss it at the end of the year. For me it’s just about focusing on how we build and design next year’s car. The other two teams ahead of us are in another league but our car looks so much different to theirs. We have a lot of work to do; we will do the best we can for the rest of the season.”

Hamilton admits there is little chance of trying to improve the car before the race and wants Mercedes to make sure it learns from its struggles for the future.

“There’s not a lot… We can’t do anything overnight — we can’t change anything overnight — so all we can do is work with what we have. We don’t know how fast or slow we’re going to be tomorrow. It could be a surprise if we’re closer than we think or… That’s the biggest gap we’ve ever had in qualifying.

“What we do do is talk about meetings we’re going to have, talk about the steps, where we want to be with next year’s car, what are the problems here, what can we take from our understanding of the data we have here and apply it to make sure the next car is not like this one at all! So that’s what I’m trying to work on.”

He says he still has to keep a positive frame of mind given his starting position due to multiple grid penalties for other drivers.

“That’s how crazy it is — we were really slow but we’re starting fourth tomorrow and we maybe have a chance still to get it in a podium position. Who knows? So you’ve just got to stay optimistic. I don’t think this car … this weekend currently it has not told me that it wants to win! But maybe I’ll have a conversation with it tonight and tomorrow it will be a little bit more responsive.”

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