Lewis Hamilton FEARS poor Mercedes performance at Qualifying in Abu Dhabi GP as Free Practices turn out to be ‘not the greatest of days’

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes continued their recent struggles on the opening day of the final Grand Prix of the season.


Lewis Hamilton FEARS poor Mercedes performance at Qualifying in Abu Dhabi GP as Free Practices turn out to be ‘not the greatest of days’

Lewis Hamilton (via imago)

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have been playing catch-up against the dominating Red Bulls since the start of the current season. The Silver Arrows have displayed stellar pace at certain Grand Prix weekend but has lacked ‘consistency’ in their performance in recent times. As the German outfit braces itself for the final race of the season, their star driver Lewis Hamilton commented on the upcoming days being tougher than anticipated for the team.

The seven-time World Champion voiced his concerns over the lack of performance of the W14 at the end of the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix day. Hamilton was replaced by Frederik Vesti, a member of the Mercedes junior team. Hence, the Briton only drove his Mercedes in FP2 for a brief stint. Hamilton finished P8 at the end of the FP2 session. He expressed his mixed feelings about the short practice session.

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It was not the greatest of days, I only got four timed laps so that's not a lot in terms of your knowledge of the car and the track. But the car doesn't feel bad.
Lewis Hamilton said, as reported by RacingNews365.

Hamilton further elaborated on his worries for the upcoming qualifying session as he anticipates an uphill climb into Q3 on Saturday. George Russell, Hamilton’s teammate topped FP1. Lewis Hamilton is known for understating his potential ahead of a stellar performance, it will be interesting to see whether this turns out to be another instance of the same.

Former Williams manager suggests Russell’s presence in the Mercedes garage ‘eats out’ Lewis Hamilton’s confidence

The famed partnership of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, known as the ‘dream team,’ dominated Formula 1 with six World Championships from 2013 to 2020. However, their success has waned since 2020, with only one win, courtesy of Hamilton’s teammate George Russell, since the end of the 2021 season. Amid Mercedes’ struggle to regain dominance, some are questioning Hamilton’s racing prowess and his ability to reclaim the top spot.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell (via Planet F1)
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell (via Planet F1)

Former team manager Peter Windsor suggests that the presence of Russell in the Mercedes team might be posing a greater challenge to Hamilton than his previous teammate, Valtteri Bottas.

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My opinion is yes and I think the minute George starts to go quicker than Lewis, you can see it eating into Lewis’s self-confidence and doubt. 

Drawing on the 2022 season, where Russell outscored Hamilton, Windsor further highlighted the impact of a teammate’s performance on Hamilton’s self-confidence. Despite his resurgence in the current season, Hamilton remains winless since 2021. It will be interesting to see whether the Briton manages to get back to winning ways next season.

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