Hamilton bemoans “two horrendous qualifying sessions” to start 2024 as “bouncing” hampers him at F1 Saudi Arabian GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
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The seven times World Champion had a tough qualifying session in Jeddah. After barely managing to make the cut to Q3, with a gap of only 0.036s over debutant Ollie Bearman who is competing for Ferrari in Sainz’s place due to his appendicitis.

Hamilton went on to score a P8 during Q3, ending the session ahead of Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll. He was left unsatisfied by his performance of the day, as he mentioned in an interview after the end of the session:

“It wasn’t a really good qualifying at all. I really struggled with the car yesterday, and then FP3 I was really much happier with the car, with a slightly bigger wing, but I was losing two-tenths in the straight,” he said, mentioning the different wing spec he and Mercedes decided to opt for at the Saudi Arabian GP.

“But I gained some stability back, and I was I was much, much happier, and I thought I would carry that into qualifying. Unfortunately, the bouncing is still there.”

“It makes it very, very, very difficult to push through that for a session. That’s why we were so slow in that first sector.”

There are, however, positives to take home from the session, but today the bouncing issue was so predominant that it strongly affected the actual drivability of his challenger:

“If you took that away the car is really so much better than last year, in every area. It’s just that it’s really causing us some real big trouble. 

“In the second or third sector, we were a lot closer, and we’re able to be closer through some or all the rest of the corners, but just that first section – it’s the same as last year.”

In spite of the improved performance of the W15, qualifying pace has been a significant issue for Hamilton so far in 2024. Russell was P3 in Bahrain and should have been fighting for a second row spot yesterday until a mistake on his last Q3 run.

“I mean, jeez, qualified ninth and eighth, so I’ve had two horrendous qualifying sessions.”

The British driver is looking forward to a chance at redemption in tomorrow’s race, hoping to bag some more solid points after P7 in Bahrain last Saturday.

“Tomorrow is just about being cool. And I’m just going to try and enjoy myself. It is what it is, but we’re not fighting for the front, for the win. So try and bag as many points as I can, he concluded.