Lewis Hamilton on Mercedes future at Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix: “I’m not giving up – but it doesn’t give me much…” | F1

Hamilton qualified eighth for the Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix, almost a second behind polesitter Sergio Perez and more than three tenths behind teammate George Russell, who is third but will gain a place due to Charles Leclerc’s penalty.

The seven-time F1 champion has bluntly admitted that his inability to get performance out of his Mercedes for the second year running is hampering his fun.

“I love this team and am so grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey,” he said.

“I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I don’t see myself giving up, I don’t feel like giving up.

“But I wouldn’t say it gives me much. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt many times.

“I’m trying to be patient and work with the team to put us in a good place.

“I don’t plan to go anywhere else but I couldn’t get more out of the car today. I have to keep trying.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had previously given the honest assessment that Hamilton would have to look elsewhere if his team could not deliver a winning car soon. The driver’s contract expires at the end of this season and while he has claimed a new deal is inevitable for the winter, he remains unsigned amid his team’s struggles.

Hamilton, now 38, has claimed he will go on to an eighth title, which would be an all-time record, but after just one race in 2023 it already seems impossible to match the Red Bulls.

Watching his teammate Russell surpass him last season and give Mercedes their only win of 2022 in Brazil made Saturday in Saudi Arabia an even more desperate day for Hamilton.

“George did a great job and he’s right up there on the second row, so obviously the car has power,” said Hamilton.

“But I don’t feel connected to this car. No matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can’t build trust in it. I’m a bit at a loss with that.

“I just had trouble getting the power out of the car.”

When asked if a bad day in qualifying made him even more frustrated, he replied: “No, not really. I wouldn’t say that, the car is where it is.”

His prognosis for Sunday’s Grand Prix was: “I wouldn’t hold my breath.”


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