F1 preview: A lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
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Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is “miserable” after hard work to fix Mercedes’ struggling W14 is not paying off. The British driver revealed he was going to extreme lengths to find a solution including staying at the circuit late at night with his engineers.
However, the seven-time champion suggested he simply couldn’t connect to the new machine after he qualified P8 in Saudi Arabia. He told Sky Sports: “I struggled with the car in the high-speed particularly.
“But just don’t feel the car beneath me. I don’t feel connected to this car and I can’t get it, so I don’t really know what I’m doing to do about that. It’s miserable. It’s tough.
“I’m giving it absolutely everything – I’m here as late as I can be everyday. I’m preparing the best you can and I just get in the car and I can’t connect with it. I don’t really know what to say about it.”
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Hamilton’s lap was a second slower than Sergio Perez’s eventual pole run, highlighting the extent of the team’s performance deficit. However, team-mate George Russell was able to extract some pace with the former Williams star setting the fourth-fastest time.
Charles Leclerc’s 10-place grid penalty means the 25-year-old will actually start Sunday’s Grand Prix from third. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff stressed the major difference between Hamilton and Russell was in the opening part of the lap.
Wolff said: “It looked a bit sticky in sector one and the time never came together so we need to see the differences in set-up we have.” Speaking on the team’s general display, the Mercedes team principal added: “I think it’s where we expected to be, we know the deficits we have.
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“We need the big steps forward in the races to come. We should be pace-wise with the Ferraris but Sergio [Perez] has a different car.”
Mercedes have failed to light up the timesheets all season despite hope they had solved their issues over the winter. After the Bahrain Grand Prix, Wolff called on his team to go back to the drawing board to establish a new concept.
It is believed these larger upgrades will be installed at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in May meaning the squad is likely to struggle for the next three race weekends.
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