Saudi Arabia GP | Hamilton “doesn’t feel connected” to Mercedes W14

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Photo: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton has said that he “doesn’t feel connected” to the Mercedes W14 after a difficult qualifying session, which saw him set a lap in Q3 only good enough for eighth – four tenths off his teammate.

The seven-time world champion hasn’t been able to find a good balance all weekend and admitted he “just struggled to extract the performance from the car.”

And while he overturned a qualifying deficit to comfortably defeat Russell in the race last time out in Bahrain, Hamilton said “I wouldn’t hold my breath” when asked if he expected things to be better tomorrow.

The Brit praised Russell for his efforts qualifying on the second row and highlighted it shows the car is working but explained his lack of confidence, which exacerbated itself through the high-speed corners in sector one.

“I just don’t feel connected to this car”, said Hamilton. “No matter what I change I can’t get my confidence back. I’m just at a bit of a loss with it.”

Hamilton revealed he went in a different direction on set-up compared to his teammate which Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff put down to the fact the pair have differing needs when it comes to car balance.

“[They’re] both different drivers and they need a car with a certain behaviour in order to drive fast,” said Wolff.

“Lewis [with the] time in this car hasn’t given him this season any feedback that allows him to push to the limit.”

“If you haven’t got that car underneath you, [in] sector one, you’ll never be able to push it fast through the corners. This is what we’ve seen, it’s all in sector one.”

“George drives around that and is able to have more confidence in the car in sector one.”

“[It’s] something that is up to us to give us both a better car in order to storm ahead.”

Hamilton will start from seventh due to Charles Leclerc’s 10- place grid penalty for taking third control electronics.