Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2024

Hamilton doubts he’ll out-qualify Russell for rest of season

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton says he does not expect to qualify ahead of team mate George Russell over the rest of his final season with Mercedes.

The seven-times world champion, who will leave the team he has raced with for the last 12 seasons at the end of 2024, qualified seventh on the grid for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, two places behind Russell.

Hamilton had been quicker than Russell in all three practice sessions before qualifying began. He said his Mercedes felt a lot better to drive around the notoriously tight and bumpy street circuit that has not been a strong track for the team in recent years.

“It was looking great yesterday,” Hamilton told Sky. “We’ve really been working hard to improve this car and from the get-go, it felt great. We were obviously competitive yesterday and this morning. We’re not making any drastic changes or anything like that.”

However, Hamilton said that he had been lacking a new part which Russell has run this weekend. The pair are running different specification front wings.

“The team have worked really hard back in the factory to bring an upgrade in the last two races and also an upgrade this weekend, but we only had one – which George has,” Hamilton explained. “So I anticipated it would be difficult to out-qualify George because he has the upgraded component.

“It’s just great to see that we are bringing upgrades. But once we got to qualifying… I don’t understand. I already know automatically that I’m going to lose two tenths going into qualifying. That’s definitely frustrating and it’s something that I don’t really have an answer for at the moment.

“I’m not driving any different, I think the laps are really great, I just couldn’t get the lap in for some reason.”

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Asked if he felt Monaco could mark a turning point for Mercedes’ performance this season, Hamilton replied “I think from the team’s perspective, yes.”

George Russell, Mercedes, Monaco, 2024
Russell was encouraged by Mercedes’ progress in Monaco
“I definitely think for some reason we’re a lot closer this weekend and it’s really great to see,” he continued. “The car, as I said, was feeling great – so much better than previous years. But still, three-and-a-half-tenths [from pole] is a lot here – that’s still six tenths elsewhere. So we still are off pace-wise.

“We’ve just got to keep on pushing. We’ll slowly get closer through the year as more upgrades come. I don’t anticipate being ahead of George in qualifying, particularly in this year, but we’ve just got to keep pushing. The races are strong.”

After qualifying in the top five for the first time since the season-opener in Bahrain, Russell said he was pleased with the team’s progress.

“[We were] two-hundredths from P3, which is, to be honest, so frustrating when it’s so close,” he told Sky. “But we’re making huge progress at the moment.

“The team has been working so hard, we’ve brought some new bits. That was on the car this weekend and it’s feeling really great. I’m hoping this can be a bit of a turning point for us, where Monaco is definitely never been a strength for our car.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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29 comments on “Hamilton doubts he’ll out-qualify Russell for rest of season”

  1. Another drama queen. If he is not good enough to deal with beafy Russell over a single lap I really wonder how will he fare against Charles?

    1. the drama is all the anti fans here. keep your hate to yourself

      1. I’m not an anti fan or anything like that . I don’t hate neither Hamilton nor Max (or any other driver). They are all great drivers. But what bothers you seems your hot air leaking to your cringing fan brain that you labels every critic as anti-fan.

    2. can you read?
      he’s basing his assertion on Russell being prioritized for Mercedes’ recent upgrade push – which he appears to be correct considering George is running the upgraded front wing and he isn’t

      1. The new front wing was mentioned on Sky commentary during one of the free practices. It was explained that there was only one and Hamilton was happy to not run with it, apparently the thinking was that if he damaged it and had to revert to the old spec front wing he would incur a penalty for running a different part. I’m presume that would be the case only once qualifying starts. Russell on the other hand was happy to take that risk.

        1. I wonder whether the team orders for Russell to pit last week might have played into things as well. Mercedes management may have felt they had some ground to make up.

          1. I don’t know how they decide who gets the latest upgrade part when there is only one available, perhaps based on championship position? My understanding from what Ted Kravitz was talking about is that Hamilton was happy to go without based on the risk of a penalty if he damaged it and had to revert to the previous spec.

        2. If that’s correct it seems to be another strangely pointless rule. If it is damaged during the race and Russell has to change to the old wing at his next pit stop or changes it suring a red flag, does he then get a penalty for running a different spec wing?

          1. No. But if Russell damaged the wing during Qualifying, then he would receive a penalty for starting the race. However, if Russell damages his wing on lap 1, and has to pit, the only wing they’ve got won’t necessarily be designed to work with his aero setup.

          2. Don’t quote me on this but I believe once qualifying starts the cars are regarded as being in Parc Fermé, if you damage a part before the race starts you can request permission to replace it but it must be like for like. With only one of those front wings you would obviously not be able to do that and the use of the old spec wing as your replacement would incur a penalty. Hamilton appears to believe the risk isn’t worth it, if he was still Russell’s age he possibly would have a different view but with his experience and knowledge he felt the risk was too great at this specific circuit.

      2. “Hamilton said that he had been lacking a new part which Russell has run this weekend. The pair are running different specification front wings. I already know automatically that I’m going to lose two tenths going into qualifying”

        So you think just a mini frot wing update is enough for to loose two tenths (0,2sec) to your team mate. I don’t know even the sum of all the updates Mercedes have brought so far has gained them this much. Oh and another note Russell outqualified Hamilton 7-1 not only this race (can u read it?).

        1. Gee, I wonder why people think you have it in for Hamilton.

        2. 2 tenths in Monaco must be a wonder front wing.

      3. Obviously you don’t really follow F1.
        It was common knowledge that Lewis opted out of using the new part, in case it got damaged in qualifying and would have to replaced with a different part … necessitating a pitlane start under the rules that require changing like with like to avoid a penalty.

        You seem as whiny as Lewis.

  2. I don’t see why anyone should be surprised by this statement.
    The instant Lewis said he was jumping ship to Ferrari, he became the second driver at Mercedes.
    They can not – dare not – treat him as one of the team any more.

    I have my fingers crossed that when he gets in that red car next season he will be back to his old confident self again rather than just doing it to tick the Ferrari box off his bucket list.

    We will see.

    1. Lewis became the #2 at Mercedes when he snubbed the awards gala for 2021.

    2. Hamilton will be treated as second driver at Ferrari. There is no way their golden boy Charles is not going to be treated as Ferrari’s favourite.

  3. Do not doubt it. You will not

  4. Hamilton isn’t even doing that bad. He’s losing but he’s within thousands of Russell for most of the time.

    Definitely not Ricciardo level, almost a second slower than Yuki in some sessions.

    1. And while drivers can get significantly better over their career, let’s not forget tsunoda was comprehensively beaten by gasly, so the evidence so far suggests hamilton has a tougher team mate to compare with than ricciardo.

      1. Yuki has improved so much since his days against Gasly. I don’t believe the comparison is really valid anymore.
        Comparing Hamilton to Ricciardo (Edvaldo) is strange. Compare Lewis’ career stats to Danny’s. Lewis is a phenom and will never be comprehensively slower than a team mate.

  5. Veselin Ignatov
    25th May 2024, 22:36

    After HAM was marginally faster in quali in 2022 , and being virtually tied in 2023 , it was expected for RUS to be faster this season . After all HAM is 39 years old ..

    1. Toto will keep Lewis behind Russell, even if that means 9th and 10th on the grid. Facts.

  6. @pcxmac Does seem to be the case at Monaco at least.

  7. I am a bit baffled by Hamilton‘s statement. What he is saying might be true, George is getting preferential treatment. But that is a given when a driver is leaving to a competitor .
    .
    As far as sabotage goes, I wouldn’t doubt if Toto is doing some things out of spite. He is a very ruthless character.. The last thing he wants to see is Hamilton outshine Russell especially considering the way Lewis signed and then backed out. Of course there is going to be bad blood in the situation.

    But for the most part this year, Hamilton has claimed he went with different set ups than George, which means it is his fault not Mercedes. Things can turn on a dime and Hamilton may start shining again. But I also think George has done well against him in the year.they been been teammates.

    I think Lewis iis a very unpopular man at Mercedes from top to bottom. I think he thought that he would have a good year and Mercedes would celebrate him and so on. But it’s quite the opposite. And I can understand why. It will only get worse as the season goes on as he will not be involved in meetings which could divulge technology he could take to Ferrari. He made his bed, now he must lay in it..

    1. What is baffling is your lack of knowledge on the topic before rushing to comment …

  8. Hamilton was close to the front in the practice sessions, consistently faster than Russell. Could he have been a contender for the front row with the new wing? More than likely. And the team must know that. So they threw away the chance for poll and even a win at Monaco to make sure Russell was ahead on the grid.
    Wow. I think Hamilton has the right attitude, shrugging of the fact this will play out for the rest of the season, more than happy with his decision to move to Ferrari. But comes across as a poor attitude on Mercedes part, the kind of bad decision that only justifies Hamilton’s sense that they’ve lost the plot.

  9. Hamilton seems determined to find an excuse for his performance. Experimenting with set up was one, now we have another: I did get the experimental wing.

    He has flashes of the old Hamilton but too often his ambition is not matched by the state of his skill set. Does he realise this or does he think he is still at his peak? He seems very interested in being a clothes horse and celebrity and the subsequent image to carry into retirement.

    The truth is that he should have checked out when he was in his glory rather than hold on for the glide path to retirement. I wish he had, I really do. Now he is set for the Schumacher return scenario with young chargers outshining him in his last couple of years.

    1. like last year? lol

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