Lewis Hamilton issues grim reality check for Mercedes after Miami GP sprint qualifying disaster

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell continued Mercedes' dismal 2024 F1 season at the Miami GP

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Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes are seven-tenths off the pace in 2024 after he and George Russell were dumped out of SQ2 at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix to continue to their woeful start to the campaign.

Hamilton‘s picked up just 19 points in five races to constitute his worst-ever start an Formula 1 season apart from 2009 – and that exception is only due to the lower points structure in place at the time.

He made several errors in the tricky sector three of the Miami International Autodrome on his final SQ2 lap, but teammate George Russell also missed out behind the tenth-placed Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

“The car felt really good in FP1 and then, I mean it didn’t feel terrible, we’re just seven-tenths off,” Hamilton told F1TV. “That’s just the pace of our car I think.

“I think the sprint race is going to be tough. I mean, we’re in P12. So don’t expect a huge amount from there to be honest. It’s not an easy circuit to overtake on or to follow. So just trying to step into the points somehow if we can.

“This weekend we’ve just been, no more experiments just trying to make the car work. So I feel like we extracted everything from the car. And that’s just our pace. You know, we just have to accept it for the moment that we’re seven-tenths off.”

Russell: We can improve for qualifying

George Russell takes in the paddock at the 2024 Miami GP | Jiri Krenek / Mercedes F1 Team

It’s not just Hamilton that’s hit a historic low in 2024 – it’s the Brackley team’s worst start to an F1 season since they raced as Honda in 2008.

Russell has beaten Hamilton in every single grand prix of the campaign and his fifth place at the season-opening Bahrain GP remains Mercedes‘ outright best result of the season so far.

However, while admitting they were well off the pace in qualifying, Russell believes they can turn things around in Miami and are broadly on par with the rest of the pack behind Red Bull.

“In practice, the soft tyre was really good on our car. The pace was good,” Russell added.
“Just on the medium, we couldn’t get sweet spot. We found ourselves on the wrong side of it, it was tight out there, we shouldn’t have been in the position to be that close to the cut-off.

“We need to work overnight and make some improvements for the main qualifying, I’ve got no doubt we will move forward in the sprint. We need to try and get on top of our qualifying woes.

“It’s always difficult to fight with the cars ahead when we have started on the back foot.
Everyone brought updates to this race, McLaren have brought a big upgrade, Aston Martin had something last week, we’re kind of in the same boat as everyone else. Today it just wasn’t working for us.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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