Lewis Hamilton was left lamenting a lap in traffic after the Mercedes driver crashed out in Q2 qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix, causing him to start Sunday’s race in 13th.
Hamilton had left him late coming out of Q1, and tried to do the same in Q2, but he struggled with a lack of grip going into the final lap, as cameras caught the Briton struggling in the first two corners.
When the seven-time world champion crossed the line at the finish, he was in thirteenth, more than two-tenths off the pace of his teammate George Russell, who had just managed to qualify in tenth. That left Hamilton agonizing over his final lap time.
“It was one of those days,” said Hamilton, who has never qualified outside the top six in the United States. “You know, not the best, I was hoping there would be a couple of moments where the car was feeling out of place and I thought maybe I would be able to go into Q3.
“But in the end I got out, and they put me behind seven cars – or something – so when I got to the last corner I was like the last of the bunch. [I] I had to go backwards and lost all my temp in the tyres, so when I started to lap I had no grip.
2023 Miami GP Qualifier: Hamilton clips the wall avoiding slow Haas in Q1
When asked how he plans to regroup ahead of Sunday’s race, Hamilton replied: “Well, there’s nothing I can do about what just happened. All I can do is try to prepare myself better and forget about what happened today.
“It happens, and really try to turn the negativity into a positive tomorrow, keep my head down and see if I can somehow fight back on the field.”
On the other side of the Mercedes garage, Russell’s lone attempt in Q3 saw him end up sixth, after Charles Leclerc’s crash brought out the red flags, giving no other driver a chance to improve on his lap. And while the Briton was happy to start at such a high level, he admitted there was an element of luck.
“I mean, I wouldn’t take pride in the fact that we qualified P6, especially in those conditions,” said Russell. “You know we’re all pushing hard, we’re working hard with this car, we’re not getting the most out of it.
Russell qualified sixth for the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday
“It flies sometimes; sometimes we really struggle with it and we’re lucky enough to start P6 tomorrow – I’ll take it. You could say there’s no luck with that because we got time on the board. I don’t really know what to say to be honest. It’s hard, it’s hard.” “.
As hard as it was for Mercedes this weekend, Russell replied: “I mean I know why, the car just doesn’t run as well as it used to and the feeling inside isn’t as good as it was in FP1.
“FP1, everything was smooth, it was very clean, and obviously we were on top of the schedules. But we ran towards the end of the session, so we thought we were going to be three-tenths behind Red Bull, and it seemed to get a little bit worse as the weekend progressed.
He concluded, “It’s very rare for that to happen with us because it’s usually the other way around. So, I don’t know. It’s kind of a deviation from this trajectory, this new runway, like no other. But we need more, we’re working for more, we’re working hard.” To achieve this, and not band together for the time being.
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