Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Hamilton targets single-lap gains after ‘struggling to get into top 10’

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes need to improve their performance over a single lap after he finished today’s practice session outside the top 10.

He ended a close second practice session six tenths of a second slower than pace-setter Max Verstappen, but only 11th in the classification.

“We’re fighting as hard as we can, I would say it was a difficult P1 and P2 just getting on top of the tyres and the deg,” said Hamilton.

The team is running its updated W14 for the second weekend after it debuted in Monaco, albeit on a different, much faster circuit.

“It’s so different from last week,” said Hamilton. “I think the long run pace didn’t look terrible and we’ve just got to figure out how we can extract more on a single lap.

“From the pace I had today it’s a struggle for me currently to get into the top 10. But hopefully we’ll do some changes overnight, it’s very close between us and that like middle after P5 back to P10.”

George Russell, who was eighth-quickest, also doesn’t expect Mercedes to be particularly competitive in qualifying.

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“I don’t think there is a fight for pole with anyone on this grid,” he said. “That’s the way things are at the moment.

“I think it’s going to be tight. There’s a few cars who are definitely fast on Saturday. I think Alpines are looking really strong. So between us, Ferrari and Alpine, it’s going to be tight.

“Then maybe you’ve got Nico [Hulkenberg] who was really quick today, I don’t know where that came from. But we saw that in Miami, Kevin [Magnussen] qualified ahead of us but then things changed on Sunday.

“So I don’t expect us to be having an incredible day tomorrow, but I certainly expect us to be having a better Sunday than Saturday. So that’s what we’re gearing up for.”

Russell complained about his car porpoising at several points on the circuit during practice. He said the team addressed the problem by raising the car’s ride height.

“I think we’re just pushing the ride height on the car, to be honest. We solved it for the second half of the session just by lifting that a little bit. It’s really bumpy through that final corner so it’s a little bit sketchy through there. Same for everyone.”

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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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...

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2 comments on “Hamilton targets single-lap gains after ‘struggling to get into top 10’”

  1. The beer can regattas await when F1 becomes too tough

  2. Has Mercedes finally hit the dreaded period of entropy?

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