Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2024

Hamilton sure Mercedes heading in right direction after best qualifying result

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton was in an upbeat mood after achieving his best qualifying result of the season so far at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, who will start tomorrow’s race from seventh on the grid, believes they are making genuine progress with their W15.

“I was giving it everything,” he told Sky. “The team did a really great job this past week understanding and making adjustments to our set-up.”

Having out-qualified his team mate for the first time this year, Hamilton said he benefited from not making significant changes to his car during practice. “This is actually the first weekend I’ve not gone crazy with set-up and I’m not testing a bunch of things, so I’m back to a little bit more normal.

“I think we got the car into a much nicer working window. So every lap it’s been really enjoyable driving.”

Hamilton qualified in the same position at Suzuka six months ago. Although Mercedes have had higher starting positions this year, including third place for George Russell in Bahrain, Hamilton said today’s result showed they have reduced the gap to their rivals.

“The [other] guys are just a little bit faster. We were a second or just over a second off last year to the Red Bull and seven tenths is better.

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“I think maybe if we’d done something a little bit different, maybe we could have been another tenth faster, maybe. But other than that, that was everything.”

Mercedes brought no updates for its car this weekend. Hamilton said they have made progress by improving their understanding of the W15.

“I know exactly where the car is not strong enough. I can feel it in the car and I know now to be able to tell them push in this particular area.

“But I’m hoping the race will be stronger for us tomorrow. I’ve really enjoyed driving so far this weekend.”

He is confident the team is heading in the right direction with its development plan for the car. “What we’ve noticed is from track to track it has been really, really hard to get to get the set-up right, and it’s been so far out each time. In some places, it just felt like nothing we could do gets the car in a sweet spot.

“But this weekend it’s much more in a sweet spot. So I hope that continues in the following races and then we’ve just got to add performance.”

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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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9 comments on “Hamilton sure Mercedes heading in right direction after best qualifying result”

  1. Also he has a brand new engine which they can afford to lean on a bit if necessary. It all bodes well.

    1. It must nice to ridicule oneself. Please share the joke so we can all laugh to you. On a side not what has this got to do with this article?

      1. Slight grammar correction – I meant to say laugh at you.

      2. I thought it was pretty obvious: hamilton has low expectations now, I’ve never seen him to happy to be 7th on the grid.

      3. so happy*

  2. sounds like maybe their models might need to account for different tire compounds. (colder track conditions). which is a shame because sometimes tires dictate the way a chassis is formulated.

  3. Since Hamilton is leaving let Russell try all the weird set ups. He’ll be the one to benefit from any trial and error discoveries next year. And he’ll be the team leader who knows the car and design philosophy.

  4. Pretty grim when you’re excited about qualifying 7th, and that’s the best you’ve done this season. No wonder he’s heading to Ferrari.

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