Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Hamilton admits Russell got more out of car as he “can’t get confident” in it

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton said he wasn’t able to get as much out of his Mercedes as his team mate, who qualified four places ahead of him for tomorrow’s race.

George Russell will start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from third on the grid while Hamilton is due to line up seventh.

“I just struggled to extract the performance,” admitted Hamilton, who ended qualifying 0.366 seconds behind Russell. He said there were only slight differences between the set-ups of the two W14s.

During practice Hamilton was told he was losing time to his team mate in turn two – the slow right-hander after the first corner – and turns nine and 10, a quick right-left switchback.

“The car is where it is,” said Hamilton. “I mean, George did a great job, he’s right up there on the second row. So the car’s obviously got performance.

“I just don’t feel connected to this car. No matter what I do, no matter what I change I can’t get confidence in it.”

The pair were separated by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari, Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. “At the moment it definitely feels like I just couldn’t get any more out of the car today,” said Hamilton.

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

18 comments on “Hamilton admits Russell got more out of car as he “can’t get confident” in it”

  1. Surely it must have been experimental set-up for Sir Lewis Hamilton once again? He simply can’t be slower and worse than his team mate Russell!

    1. Why do you say that, when he’s clearly admitting that George did a better job with a similar car today? Last year was last year. He didn’t come up with an excuse today, and yet you act as if he and all of his fans are giving excuses.

  2. I think at this point Lewis should just drive the car and mind his words. If Russell starts getting more out of the car than him, Mercedes may decide a long-term contract wouldn’t be in their best interests especially if Lewis continues to whine. Mercedes would have a long list of drivers willing to take his seat. And he won’t find a better team – he’s stuck.
    Mercedes has to come to reality. This is the new F1. Thanks are more equal between most of the teams now. It could be several years before Mercedes gets back to the top. Of course it could be sooner but there’s no guarantee with this new format.
    needs to come to the reality that great drivers do not always get great cars. Alonso can testify to that

    1. I’m not so sure this really applies to a driver in Lewis’s position. Of course I don’t know what’s in his head. I have no doubt he would love another championship, but to my mind I think he wants to be able to say what he thinks. So regardless of whether George goes on to outperform Lewis and whether or not Merc ever go on to drop Lewis as a result, I am unsure he would have retrospectively wished he had kept his mouth shut.

      In any case, I do not think I (personally) would consider that he is particularly whining. Perhaps the reporting of his comments about the car design and philosophy do suggest that he ‘knows better’ than people far more qualified than him in those areas, but at the end of the day, they are just opinions, and whether he says them out loud or not, they are still his opinions. And let’s face it, journalists and fans tend to try and get those opinions out in the open .

  3. The moaning mounts about the car, the blaming the team, the performance becomes variable. Has Hamilton gone off the boil? Temporarily or irreversibly?

    1. Davethechicken
      18th March 2023, 20:46

      The age is there..

  4. Jeez, if he is not confident in the car then he won’t perform to the best of his ability. That’s a given for any sports person. It was clearly obvious that George was comfortable in the car. We’ll see what happens in the race tomorrow.

  5. Apart from the obvious, that red bull is significantly ahead (knowing verstappen would’ve been a few tenths faster than perez), it looks to me like ferrari is the 2nd best car in qualifying, cause leclerc is a qualifying ace but even sainz, who has never been very fast and couldn’t get the first sector right by his own admission is up there with the fastest merc and aston driver.

    Hamilton when he’s in good form is usually on russell’s pace, which makes me say red bull > ferrari > aston\merc for this quali; in the race if there’s a team I feel will perform comparably worse it’s ferrari, judging by the bahrain experience, I expect the other 3 teams but red bull to be up there in race pace.

  6. I think he should sit down with Daniel and have a heart to heart about driving a car you have no confidence in.

    1. @davedai It’s interesting that the young guys are able to “connect” with their machinery more easily when it’s not perfect. Danny & Lando, Vettel & Leclerc now Hamilton & Russel. They’re clearly great drivers, it just seems to be that they lose the nuisance needed for cars that have limitations. Maybe too conditioned by good cars and success? Maybe Alonso never lost it because he’s been driving inferior cars this whole time?

      1. That’s a reasonable theory. If you have to constantly overdrive to get through Q1, handling bad cars for years, that probably leaves you more comfortable with imperfections and more able to compensate for them. I think George drives more aggressively, taking more risks. And he probably has more fire in his heart and motivation to perform than Lewis, given their completely different stages in their careers. Vettel, Hamilton, those guys had a massive run of success. Then having to face the prospect of driving in the midfield for years to come, that’s not as motivating. Hats off to Alonso, but you can clearly feel that he has something to prove. It’s not like he has won 4, 7 titles.

      2. The way I see it is that Hamilton started F1 in 2007. He’s won in three different car generations of F1 as well. This fourth, ground effects generation may reward slightly different driving styles than those that were successful in previous eras. We saw Hamilton was generally faster than Russell last season, so it’s not like Hamilton can’t drive these cars to the fullest. To me the setup and tire temp windows have gotten quite a bit tighter since these cars were introduced. Maybe the younger drivers like Verstappen, Russell, Leclerc, etc., had junior categories that fit more with this style. It makes sense, because generally F3 and F2 adopt similar philosophies to F1 aero regs (they actually got the ground effects cars one season earlier than F1). We also know Hamilton has won many times when the car really didn’t have any business winning – ‘09-‘11 McLarens. He’s adapted better than any other driver to the reg changes imo, I mean he won at least one race a season for 15 years straight. Alonso is up there too, Vettel is the complete opposite in that he found one style he could win in and was a complete mess in anything else.

  7. I feel he’s going through that low phase again like last year when he realised he isn’t going to be fighting for the title, and again this year too, but then he bounced back later. Give him a few races and he’ll be right up there with George.

  8. Points are earned on sunday. Lewis admitted tho george performed better than him. Whats wrong with that? Gosh! Lewis is damned if he dudnt admit it. He is damned if he does admit it. The guy is been open and honest and still some would crucify him?? He manned up. End of story.

    1. He’s always been pretty honest and owned up when his teammate did better. He knows you can’t win every race or qualy session. He’d congratulate Bottas every time he got a pole or win. I don’t understand how people can hate Lewis so much. He’s always been a kind and genuine guy in the paddock. He doesn’t complain when something is his fault, he owns up to it and yet so many people claim he’s whiny.

  9. It’s over for ham, he’s done! The best he can do now is come to terms with it and retire with dignity.

    …He won’t because hes an entitled narcissist, so his meltdown will be nothing short of hilarious and just expose his lack of talent that was masked by dominant cars for most of his career.

  10. His demeaner in the interview was suggestive of someone simply not enjoying life right now. Don’t underestimate the loss of a cheerful Angela at his side as a contributing factor.

  11. Ok so learn to drive, or get another job

Comments are closed.