“It generally feels like we’re racing pretty much the same car” compared to 2022, says Hamilton

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Dejection is a word that comes to mind after a difficult FP2 for Mercedes left Lewis Hamilton feeling like he had been ‘kicked in the gut’.

The Brackley-based team finished 1-2 in first practice at Miami, but it would be a large reality check in FP2 as Hamilton and Russell finished P7 and P15 respectively.

The seven-time World Champion could not hide his disappointment after practice, although he’s trying to stay positive.

“Same as every weekend. We’re a second down,” he said on what he learned yesterday. “It’s a great weekend, it’s a great place to be, there’s lots of positives, it’s just, you know, we’re not particularly quick and it’s a struggle out there.

“We’re just trying lots of different things. P1 looked quite good and then to come into P2 and then the true pace come out, it’s just a kick in the gut.”

“So it’s a little bit difficult to take sometimes, but it’s okay, we’ll just keep on working on it and we’ll regroup tonight and try and see if we can make some set up changes and get the car in a sweeter spot.”

Mercedes had looked to have taken a step forward in Australia when they qualified P2 and P3 on the grid, with Hamilton backing that up the race thanks to a 2nd place finish. However, Miami is proving to be a completely different story.

“Melbourne, obviously was a night and day difference, much much nicer to drive there,” he stated. “Baku felt better than here also. I think maybe the heat or maybe it’s just the balance we have at the moment.

“So I’m going to stay optimistic, I’m going to stay hopeful that we can get the car in a better place tomorrow and maybe be a couple of steps up.”

F1’s most successful ever driver didn’t mince his words yesterday. He compared the W14 to W13 — the only difference is that the 2023 package doesn’t come with severe porpoising.

“Last year we had hardcore bouncing, [and this year] it generally feels like we’re racing pretty much the same car, you know, and so that’s the difficult thing.”

The track has been resurfaced for this year’s race and Hamilton agreed with the other drivers about a lack of grip. He had a moment in turn 14 during FP2.

“Yeah, the grip is really quite low on this new circuit, and I think it’s interesting to see some of the offs,” he added. “I mean it is slippery, particularly for the rear end. It’s a very, very high track surface today so there’s a lot of sliding for a lot of people — including me.

“Lots of overheating of the tyres and so we’re just trying to keep, find that balance that keeps the tyres somehow in the right spot, but they’re generally always over the peak of the temps.”

Mercedes are set to bring upgrades to the next race at Imola. They cannot come soon enough for Hamilton and the team as they’re struggling to get anywhere near the dominant Red Bull squad at present.

“We’re working as hard as we can, it’s just we desperately need those upgrades, that’s for sure.

“We’ve just got to keep our head down for one more race and hopefully we’ll start a new path next race.”

Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team