Hamilton 'Couldn't Go Faster' Because He Didn't Have 'Feedback From Car That He Wanted'

Saturday, 09 March 2024 at 17:30
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Team principal Toto Wolff evaluated Mercedes's qualifying session ahead of the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Mercedes F1 drivers confirmed their car lacked the one-lap pace during the second qualifying session of the season at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
George Russell scored a P7, and his teammate Lewis Hamilton scored a P8. Toto Wolff spoke to the media after the qualification, and according to PlanetF1, he said:

"We've got a quick car, but it is on a knife's edge. The drivers are struggling to squeeze out the lap consistently."

Russell seemed faster than his 39-year-old teammate throughout the whole qualifying session, and according to Wolff, he could have started from the second row on the grid.

"George was on his way to a strong lap and could have been fighting for spots on the second row. Unfortunately, he lost the rear of the car."

The loose rear is something that the seven-time World Champion has complained about ever since practice sessions. Jeddah requires drivers' confidence in their cars, and Hamilton didn't have it. Wolff explained:

"Lewis, meanwhile, never had the feedback from the car that he wanted, and that meant he couldn't go faster."

While the qualifying session didn't go as the German team would have hoped, Wolff suggested Silver Arrows should be faster in the race.

"I think the race pace will be very close between ourselves, the Ferraris, and the McLarens. Our target is to try to be ahead of them, but we know overtaking isn't easy here."

If the team principal expects a close battle with Ferraris and McLarens, Mercedes could have the pace needed to fight for the podium. However, Russell and Hamilton don't have the best starting position for that.
Nevertheless, races in Saudi Arabia are always exciting and unpredictable, so anything can happen, and some outside circumstances might help the Mercedes drivers. Wolff added:

"Last week, we thought we had a car that was quicker in race trim, but we were unable to show that. Hopefully we will have a better evening here in Jeddah. We will do our best and see what we can deliver."