Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2024

Hamilton feels “the least confident I’ve ever felt with this car” in Australia

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton was deeply unhappy with the handling of his Mercedes after ending Friday practice in Melbourne 18th out of 19 drivers who set times.

“We had one of the worst sessions I probably had for a long time,” he told the official F1 channel afterwards.

Mercedes arrived in Australia intending to conduct experiments on their cars to tackle the handling problems they experienced in recent races, including poor high-speed cornering performance. Team principal Toto Wolff admitted those had “backfired” for Hamilton.

The driver said the W15 “felt the best it’s ever felt” during his first run in practice, but went downhill from there. “It just got worse and worse. We made some big changes into [second practice], and it was tough.

“After that session, I feel the least confident I’ve ever felt with this car. But there are positives from that that [first practice] run that we did.”

Hamilton’s team mate George Russell was closer to the pace in his W15. “I felt pretty comfortable out there from the beginning,” he said.

“We’ve made some changes since Saudi and Bahrain. We’re still trying to understand this car further. Every single lap is so valuable, you learn and more and more about it and trying to get it into the sweet spot.

“Obviously now we have the team back at the factory working on the sim trying to get more performance out of it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

He ended practice 0.674 seconds off the pace, but believes he could have been closer.

“We were pushing the limits and had a few little moment here and there, but all under control in the end.

“It seems pretty tight out there. In the first session it was like two tenths splitting 10 cars. FP2 slightly more spread out. I was on course for a really good lap at the end and just had a small problem in the last two corners.”

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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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