Lewis Hamilton said it felt like a “kick in the guts” to realise how far away from the pace Mercedes are at the Miami Grand Prix.
The team looked in less positive shape by the end of second practice, however. Hamilton, the quickest of the team’s drivers, was only seventh-fastest, 0.928 seconds slower than pace-setter Max Verstappen.
“It’s the same as every weekend,” he said after the session. “We’re a second down.
“It’s a great weekend, it’s a great place to be, lots of positives. It’s just we’re not particularly quick. It’s a struggle out there, we’re just trying lots of different things.
“P1 looked quite good and then to come into P2 and the true pace comes out, it’s just this kick in the guts. So it’s a little bit difficult to take sometimes.
“But it’s okay, we’ll just keep on working on it and we’ll regroup tonight and try and see if we can make some set-up changes and get the car in a sweet spot.”
Hamilton said the car feels weaker than it did in the previous two rounds. “Melbourne obviously was night-and-day difference. Much, much nicer to drive there. Baku felt better than here also.
“I think maybe the heat or maybe it’s just the balance we have at the moment. So I’m going to stay optimistic and I’m going to stay hopeful that we can get the car in a better place tomorrow and maybe be a couple of steps up.
“But it feels like apart from last year we had hardcore bouncing, it generally feels like we’re racing pretty much the same car, and so that’s the difficult thing.”
Having been the only Mercedes driver to reach Q3 in grand prix qualifying last week, Hamilton said his target is to do the same again in Miami. “I hope that we can be in Q3 and I hope that we can be mid-bunch of that top 10, that would be great.”
The team intends to bring a major upgrade package for the next round at Imola. “We’re working as hard as we can,” said Hamilton. “It’s just we’re dying, desperately need those upgrades, that’s for sure.
“So we’ve just got to keep our head down for one more race and hopefully we’ll start a new path next race.”
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