Hamilton expects “a real race” with Ferrari at Sochi
Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes will have to “go back to the drawing board” to work out a plan to beat Ferrari in the Russian Grand Prix this weekend.
Hamilton could only qualify fourth in Sochi, over half a second off Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time.
“I just wasn’t quick enough today,” said Hamilton. “Have to go back to the drawing board and try and figure out why.
“Tomorrow is still all to play for. I’m still up there in the mix. It was all the last sector, I was losing half a second [there].
“So there’s some work to do. That’s where all the mistakes happen. It was a real struggle, getting tyre temperature and really maximising [and] utilising the tyres. It was an issue yesterday and we made some changes, and it worked but then too much maybe – because that last sector was a struggle.”
Not “at my optimum” in qualifying
Looking ahead to Sunday’s race, Hamilton rued a poor race simulation in Friday practice and was unsure of how his pace would play out next to Ferraris.
“Ferrari are quickest here today, and generally during race trim, so it’ll be interesting to see where we stand tomorrow,” he said.
“This means we have a real race. It’s just a shame today I definitely wasn’t at my optimum. Normally I’m a lot quicker than I am today, so I need to and work out why and see what I can do.
“Of course, my goal is to try and get forwards, and my long run yesterday was pretty poor as well, so I’m hoping to rise back.
“It’s only a one-stop, so it’s a very simple strategy, so I’m not particularly confident on that but I’m going to work as hard as I can to do it on track.”
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