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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Hamilton doesn’t “feel connected” to Mercedes W14 F1 car

Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t “feel connected” to his Mercedes W14 Formula 1 car and can’t get any confidence in it.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Hamilton qualified eighth in Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, on a day when his team-mate George Russell gave the struggling team a boost with fourth place. Both will move up a place on the starting grid due to Charles Leclerc's penalty.

Asked by Motorsport.com if Russell’s performance had been encouraging, Hamilton said: “Of course, George did a great job. So great, great result for him and he was able to get the car in a different place than me.

“I just struggled to extract the performance from the car. It's mostly me. And yeah, a little bit in the high-speed the car is a little bit unstable, my set-up.”

Hamilton confirmed he and Russell had diverged on set-up, with the latter also having trialled new parts on Friday.

 

“It's a little bit different, yeah,” said Hamilton. “There's just one particular thing that I did differently, but maybe it'll be okay for tomorrow. Let's hope so.”

Asked how hopeful he was that the race would be better, he joked: "I wouldn't hold my breath!"

Hamilton also denied that the Jeddah weekend has added to his frustration after the poor start in Bahrain.

“No, not really,” he insisted. “I think the car is where it is. I mean, George did a great job, I'm pleased that he's right up there on the second row.

“The car's obviously got performance. I just don't feel connected to this car. No matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can't get confidence in it. Yeah, I'm just at a bit of a loss with it.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

On Friday, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he would understand if Hamilton might want to explore other options after two difficult seasons, but Hamilton insisted he is concentrating on the job in hand and not thinking about anything else.

“I'm not focussed on that,” he said. “I mean, I love this team, I'm so grateful for everyone that's been on the journey with me with this team. I don't envisage being anywhere else, and I don't see myself quitting, I don't feel like I'm a quitter.

“But I am trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place. That's all I can say right now. I'm not going anywhere else.”

Asked if there was a point of no return when he can't do more to extract performance from the car, he said: “Well, there's no such thing as can't, right. At the moment I definitely feels like... I just couldn't get any more out of the car today, for example, but I keep trying.”

Hamilton also confirmed that he’s on good terms with his former physio Angela Cullen after announcing his split with her on social media.

“Me and Ange are good. And she's moving on to a different phase of her life. We're still super close. We've been texting every day. She's massively supportive and I'm massively supportive of her.

“I'm so grateful to have had her with me on this journey. She's one of my closest friends, and she continues to be.”

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