'I can't get the confidence back' - Hamilton

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'I can't get the confidence back' - Hamilton

Formula 1

'I can't get the confidence back' - Hamilton


Lewis Hamilton says he is lacking confidence in his Mercedes car at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after being outqualified by teammate George Russell.

Russell impressed with a lap that was good enough for fourth in qualifying despite Mercedes already talking about needing to make radical changes to its car, and the younger Brit will start third due to a grid penalty for Charles Leclerc. Hamilton will start seventh after ending up 0.4s off his teammate, but says the difference comes from his own confidence in the car.

“I wouldn’t say (there’s added frustration),” Hamilton said. “The car is where it is, George did a great job, he’s right up there on the second row, so the car is obviously working. I just don’t feel connected to this car. No matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can’t get the confidence back.

“I just struggled to extract the performance from the car… In high-speed, (the) car was a bit understeery. It’s a little bit different, yeah — one or two different things. Hopefully will be OK for tomorrow.”

Pushed on if he thought the car would be better in the race, Hamilton replied: “I wouldn’t hold my breath…”

Already starting in a top-three position, Russell believes he has the car beneath him to try and stay there, with Fernando Alonso his main target.

“I think we can definitely fight for a podium. It seems close with Aston Martin; Ferrari have maybe got a tenth or two on us, but obviously we’re starting ahead of both of them. So no reason why we can’t fight for a podium. I think Max (Verstappen) is going to come through pretty comfortably, unless there’s any incidents or hold-ups. But we’ll go for it.”

Russell says the work done between the first race and arriving in Jeddah has helped him feel more comfortable with the Mercedes at the second round.

“Actually, I was feeling good, to be honest, here. The car has been feeling good. That’s not the weakness at the moment — the weakness is just a lack of overall downforce. We did a lot of work overnight…in the simulator — we did a lot of work — I was back in the factory working hard on the sim and that’s what I’m sort of most satisfied about. It’s that hard work has sorted of translated into relative performance, but of course we know globally we’ve got more work to do.

“Just hard work and getting the car in the right place — I think we’ve got a lot of good tools, we’ve got a good simulator back at base, we’ve got a good group of people, and I think the work we did overnight, the work we did this morning, we got it in a really, really decent window.”

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