Lewis Hamilton delivers damning verdict as Mercedes flop again

Mercedes were well off the pace at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP

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Lewis Hamilton admitted that he is “definitely not” enjoying his farewell season with Mercedes so far after another dismal result at the Formula 1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP.

The seven-time world champion continued his miserable start to the season after he scored just two points in Jeddah with a ninth-placed finish, with his slim hopes of winning an eighth world title with Mercedes already looking forlorn.

Hamilton looked competitive in the car in the early stages of the race while he was on a pair of old medium tyres as he held off McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, with the team deciding not to pit Hamilton in case there was another safety car. But it never arrived, and Hamilton was forced to pit late on with the soft tyre to try and make his way through the field.

With Lando Norris also on a similar strategy, he was unable to summon the pace to catch the Briton in the high-speed corners and finished behind Norris, as well as 18-year-old debutant Oliver Bearman, who replaced Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari for his F1 debut.

And Hamilton made no bones about his struggles for pace in the high-speed areas of the circuit, admitting he was not “having fun” finishing so far down the race order.

“I wouldn’t say I’m having fun. I mean, racing for ninth. I definitely can’t say that. It’s definitely not [fun], but I am enjoying the racing part,” Hamilton told the press in Saudi Arabia.

“I was hunting and I was pushing as hard as I could, I was maximising everything I had with the car, I was right on the edge. It was just unfortunate that we were really, really lacking performance at the high speed [corners]. But there are positives across low speed, we’ve got some areas that we would have to add a lot of load in the high speed.”

Frustrated Hamilton channels inner Alonso

Hamilton later said in the media pen that his Mercedes felt like he was “sometimes driving in a different category”, which may be a subtle reference to when Fernando Alonso famously slammed the Honda power unit in his 2015 McLaren as a “GP2 (Formula 2) engine”.

It is not the first time the veteran racer has been critical of the team’s efforts to provide him with a competitive car.

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Saudi Grand Prix practice | Mercedes / LAT Images
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Saudi Grand Prix practice | Mercedes / LAT Images

The 39-year-old revealed on Season 6 of the Drive to Survive documentary that the team ignored his wishes when designing the W14 car, although it is understood they have used his input in assembling the W15.

By his own admission, Hamilton has also pointed to the different setups he has run on his car in comparison to George Russell, and Mercedes may believe the latter has the better idea of what works after recording two top-six finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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