SPAIN: Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton expressed concerns about his team’s performance in Friday’s practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Hamilton finished outside the top 10 and felt that breaking into the upper half of the field could be challenging in qualifying.
Hamilton finished in 11th place during the Friday sessions, more than six tenths of a second behind Max Verstappen of Red Bull’s fastest time. His teammate, George Russell, fared slightly better, finishing in eighth place. Both drivers are adjusting to the upgraded Mercedes W14, which the team introduced at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend.
Reflecting on the day’s running in Barcelona, the British racing driver acknowledged the difficulties faced by the team.
He mentioned the struggle with tire management and degradation, saying, “The car feels… like a car.”
When asked about the differences compared to Monaco, Hamilton emphasized the need to extract more from a single lap and work on improving their qualifying performance.
The British driver admitted that it would be difficult for Mercedes to break into the top 10 based on their current pace. He noted the tight competition between the midfield teams, with improvements from other teams, such as Alpine and Aston Martin.
Hamilton acknowledged the impressive performances of his rivals and that it would not be easy to secure a top position.
The possibility of rain during the weekend provided a glimmer of hope for Mercedes. The British driver believed that wet weather could benefit them, given their current pace. However, he is determined to make the necessary setup changes and improve his performance.
Hamilton expressed his excitement regarding the track changes that reverted the final sector to the layout last used in 2006.
He found the new layout “awesome” and “very fast.” However, he admitted that he hadn’t experienced following another driver through the section and acknowledged the challenge it could pose concerns regarding tire degradation during the race. As the Mercedes team works overnight to adjust and improve, Hamilton remains focused on delivering the best possible performance.