Hamilton disappointed with P3 as he rues disappointing Saturday: “Qualifying needs to get better”

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The seven-time World Champion achieved his fifth podium of the campaign after a chaotic race which saw him running wide off track on Lap 1, having to let Russell and Norris back through.

Running in fourth behind his teammate, on lap 45 Mercedes pitted under the VSC with both drivers for the second time for fresh mediums. It was a great strategical choice, which saw Russell and Hamilton running with a big tyre advantage compared to Sainz and Norris.

However, Russell crashed out on the final lap while pushing Norris for P2, and ultimately Hamilton ended up taking advantage of the podium opportunity.

The 103-time Grand Prix winner was left wanting for more, as he believed the first race win of the year could be on the cards for Mercedes. He recalled the key moments of his and his teammate’s race in the podium interview:

“Firstly, congratulations to Carlos and Lando, they did a great job today and their strategy worked. We rolled the dice this weekend, we went with a different amount of tyres into Qualifying, with the option to be able to do what we have done today.”

“I felt like it was a two-stop, but the team did an amazing job today to really get us back up there. It’s a bit of a shame the first corner, but nonetheless I just kept my head down, kept pushing, and of course extremely unfortunate for George.

“We were pushing so hard to catch these guys and our tyres were so hot, but I know he will bounce back, he’s been phenomenal all weekend.”

Photo credits: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Later on, the Mercedes driver admitted he felt unsatisfied with P3, considering the speed him and Russell both had, and that he was even more displeased with his Saturday performance, which saw him start the Singapore race in P5:

“It’s all in hindsight, but the thing I was disappointed with was that yes, I think we could. George was so close to pole yesterday, I should have been on pole yesterday.

“But we had a good race, the race was kind of textbook. The team did a good job with the strategy, I’m in my element in the race. It’s just qualifying that needs to get better.”

Hamilton believes that with only a few more laps that elusive win, which he has been missing since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP and for the team since São Paulo 2022, could have happened.

“George was great all weekend. I think as a team we risked it at the end, and took the chance, and I love that the team was doing that, but it was a big gap to close up. It was definitely hard to overtake these guys at the end of the race. We probably needed another five or ten laps and I think we could have got them.”

Asked to expand on his qualifying issues, he admitted that it’s on him, as his teammate was able to extract more pace on Saturday, and he will definitely do whatever it takes to be able to bring the car back to P1.

“It’s clearly not just the car and it’s not particularly the car, I mean, George as I said was on the front row. So I think it’s me, it’s my driving style, changes perhaps I’m making… It’s a lot of different things, so I need to look into that, and I will.

“I will actually keep my head down, keep pushing, not satisfied until I get back there,” he concluded.