Lewis Hamilton fears early qualifying exit for Mercedes

The seven-time world champion endured a pretty miserable first two practice sessions ahead of the Spanish GP


After a tricky first two practice sessions in the upgraded W14, Lewis Hamilton admitted he faces a battle to make it into Q3 during qualifying for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes debuted their highly anticipated upgrade packed in Monaco last week, enjoying an initial upturn in form, but both cars struggled around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which offers a more accurate reflection on performance.

In FP1, Hamilton could only manage 12th, finishing more than a second off the pace of Verstappen, while he only improved to 11th in FP2, sparking understandable concerns ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.

“I think from the pace I had today it’s a struggle for me personally to get into top 10,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s very close between us and from P5 back to P10, it’s really, really close between us all.

“It’s impressive to see the improvements everyone seems to have made all around us. You look at Ocon, the Alpines are doing great.

“The Aston Martins are second just right behind the Red Bull, which is really impressive, so it’s not going to be easy that’s for sure.”

Cause for optimism

Although the seven-time world champion endured a fairly disappointing day, he was able to take some positives.

The car might have felt “so different” to the one he took to fourth in Monaco, but the race pace in Barcelona offered a glimmer of hope for another strong result, while the threat of rain could also help Hamilton’s cause.

“We’re fighting as hard as we can,” Hamilton added. “I would say it’s a difficult FP1 and FP2 just getting on top of the tyres and the deg. The car feels like the car.

“It’s so different from last week obviously, but we’re just focusing. I think the long-run pace didn’t look terrible and we’ve just got to work on trying to figure out how to extract more out of a single lap.

“Wet weather can always be a helping hand given we’re not as quick as we’d like to be, but I’m just going to try and do the best job I can tonight to make the right set-up changes.

“There’s definitely improvements I know I can make with the set-up so I’ll get on top of that.”

Andrew Wright
Andrew Wrighthttps://total-motorsport.com
Sports Journalist for Total-Motorsport.com
- Advertisment -


Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Lando Norris of McLaren during 2023 Spanish GP practice | Aston Martin F1 Team

F1 Spanish GP 2024: Schedule and Session Start Times

As the 2024 Formula 1 season progresses, the Spanish Grand Prix stands out as a pivotal event, offering a...
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford, celebrates after winning the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway | NASCAR

How two tyres carried Ryan Blaney to NASCAR win at Iowa

Ryan Blaney's June began in heartbreaking fashion when Team Penske opted to gamble on fuel, only for him to...
Max Verstappen leads George Russell of Mercedes during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull vs McLaren vs Mercedes: What next in F1’s development war?

The Canadian Grand Prix served up the best race of the 2024 Formula 1 season so far with a...
Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton explains why F1 doesn’t need a transfer window

Lewis Hamilton has weighed in with his thoughts on whether Formula 1 should adopt a football-style transfer window to...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Forget Ferrari, McLaren are the biggest threat to Red Bull

The very fact that Lando Norris was disappointed and frustrated with finishing second at the Formula 1 2024 Canadian...
Sergio Perez looks on at the 2024 Canadian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner calls for Perez to bounce back as he heaps praise on Verstappen

Team principal Christian Horner for Sergio Perez to get back to from for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix whilst...

Should F1 adopt a football-style transfer window for drivers? Max Verstappen is the proof...

Formula 1 is unlike any other sport, and that's fine - the F1 purists thrive on its unique qualities....

What went wrong for Will Brown, Cam Waters in NASCAR Cup debuts

The NASCAR Cup Series had some Australian flavour Sunday when Supercars Championship stars Will Brown and Cameron Waters made...

What we learned from the 2024 Canadian GP

Max Verstappen returned to the top step of the podium after a terrible 2024 Monaco Grand Prix with an...
Norman Nato leads the field at the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024-25 calendar announced for first Gen3 Evo season

Formula E have announced its provisional calendar for the 2024-25 season, which will be the first campaign for the...
- Advertisment -