Hamilton seeing positives despite ‘not fun’ results

Lewis Hamilton says he’s enjoying the racing battles he’s having but that finishing ninth in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is “definitely not fun” as Mercedes struggles for performance.

Both Mercedes drivers have spoken more positively about the 2024 car than either of its predecessors, but could only line up side-by-side on the fourth row in Jeddah, with George Russell going on to finish sixth and Hamilton limited to ninth after being one of the few drivers not to make a pit stop under the early safety car. Despite his frustrations at the results, Hamilton believes there is still potential for Mercedes to unlock.

“I wouldn’t say I’m having fun,” Hamilton said. “I’m racing for ninth, I can’t say that … finishing ninth is definitely not fun. I am enjoying the actual racing part and I was hunting and I was pushing as much as I could. I was maximizing everything I had with the car, was right on the edge but unfortunately just really lacking performance in the high speed where [McLaren] were all over us.


“But there are positives — the car is good in low speed, we have got some areas that we have to add a lot of load in the high speed. I think if we are able to do that then I think it puts us in the fight.”

It was a similar story for Russell, who did follow the more popular strategy of fitting hard tires early on and running to the end, but was unable to get close enough to Fernando Alonso to fight for fifth place.

“We’re still really trying to understand this car because we have shown true performance at points over the last two weekends,” Russell said. “FP1 straight out of the box we were top of the timesheets and always in the top three. FP2, P2, and then both weekends the pace has just fallen away from us.

“And that hasn’t been our competitors getting faster, that’s been us getting slower. So we need to understand why that is, but it’s fine margins now. It’s so close between ourselves, McLaren and Aston, and Charles [Leclerc] is just a smidge ahead, we just need to tap into a bit more.”

One area that Mercedes has been struggling is with bouncing, but Russell believes there are also other aspects that the team needs to get on top of.

“I think there’s more to it — it’s so complex these days. These cars are so complicated, couple that with the tires — the tires are very difficult as well — and right now we don’t have the answers.”

Story originally appeared on Racer