Lewis Hamilton attempts to explain Mercedes qualifying pace

The Silver Arrows start second and third for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes’ surprising upturn in pace at the 2023 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix could just be a track-specific quirk.

The Silver Arrows are set to start the race in Melbourne from second and third with George Russell just edging out his esteemed teammate, who has eight poles around Albert Park in his career.

After two difficult qualifying sessions in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Hamilton was cautious to say their problems have been fixed but was still pleased with the result that came.

“I think it’s perhaps track-specific,” Hamilton told the media after qualifying. “Ultimately, there is no one in this team that’s had their heads down.

“Everyone has been working incredibly hard to try and squeeze the most out of what we currently have. We’re a little bit down on downforce from where we want to be but everything came together today.

“It feels amazing to be up here on either side of Max, I just hope that tomorrow we can somehow hold onto him, he might pull away into the distance like he has done in the past but we’ll give it a shot.”

Traffic problems

Backing up in the last sector of the lap had been an issue all weekend with GPS issues plaguing some of practice and it was still prevalent in Q3.

Even with only 10 cars on track, Hamilton found himself right under the gearbox of Nico Hulkenberg starting his final lap and the seven-time champion believes it cost him some tyre temperature and therefore lap time.

“It definitely was a little bit confusing,” Hamilton added. “It definitely wasn’t an optimum way of starting your lap.

“Normally you want to keep your pace up in that last sector but there was a lot going on so I think we did lack a little bit of temperature.

“It did pick up towards the end of the lap and I think my last sector was better but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

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