Hamilton Anticipating Difficult Race: 'If I Can Get At Least Past Tsunoda'

Saturday, 18 May 2024 at 18:14
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Lewis Hamilton said he expects a difficult race following the Saturday qualifying session at Imola Circuit ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Mercedes brought some new upgrades to their cars this weekend, and it looked like the German team had made a decent step forward during the free practice sessions on Friday.
However, as we've seen multiple times this season, Silver Arrows seemed to lose a significant amount of pace compared to their rivals the closer we got to qualifying.
As the qualifying started, it became clear Mercedes wouldn't be challenging for the front row. In fact, Lewis Hamilton almost didn't make it out of Q2 as he stood in P15 at the end of Q1.
Fortunately, for him, he did make it. Ultimately, the seven-time World Champion put in the eighth fastest lap, which means he will start the Sunday race from the fourth row on the grid. He told F1TV after qualifying:

"Practice 1 felt really strong, Practice 2 still relatively decent, and then Saturday has just been off. It has been more of a battle today with the balance of the car."

"Once I got into qualifying, I hoped we would have rectified some of the issues that we've had in FP3, but the car was quite snappy."

Hamilton's teammate, George Russell, was able to deal with the snappy car a bit better. He put in the sixth fastest time, which means he will start the race right in front of the 39-year-old.
Speaking to the media after qualifying, Russell suggested he was delighted with his lap and that a position better than P6 just wasn't possible for Mercedes.
The battle at the front of the grid is super close at the moment, with Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren coming closer together. The seven-time World Champion suggested it is going to be challenging to make any progress as he added:

"It's gonna be a difficult race. If I can get at least past Tsunoda, that will be great. If Goerge and I can hold these positions if not progress, that would be amazing, so we just gotta see how we go."