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Hamilton still "way off" F1 title threat

Hamilton still "way off" F1 title threat

F1 News

Hamilton still "way off" F1 title threat

Hamilton still "way off" F1 title threat

Lewis Hamilton believes he is still "way off" mounting a challenge for this season's F1 title despite Mercedes taking a giant stride with its troublesome W13 in Spain.

Hamilton and Wolff wrote off their championship prospects earlier in the year when the car displayed a vehement level of porpoising as a result of the new aerodynamic rules that could not be dialled out.

But after five races, the latest upgrades appeared to propel the team back into the mix going into qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Team-mate George Russell managed to claim Mercedes' highest grid slot of the year of fourth, with Hamilton again out-qualified by the younger Briton as he lines up sixth, 0.762s behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

The irony for Mercedes and Hamilton is that despite the improvements on the car in the intervening two weeks since the Miami Grand Prix, for that race he also started sixth behind Leclerc. Then, it was 0.829s adrift, a 0.067s improvement.

Reflecting initially on what has been achieved, Hamilton said: "The team has done such a great job so a big, big, big thank you to everyone continuing to push back at the factory.

"We don't have bouncing in a straight line, which is a huge improvement for us and the car has generally been nicer this weekend.

"We do have some bouncing through the high-speed corners in turns three and nine so we need to keep working away at it, trying to see if we improve on that and gain a little bit more downforce elsewhere.

"I'm a little bit gutted because I want to be further up ahead. We've obviously seen George has been able to put it further ahead so I'll keep pushing."

Hamilton reveals struggles

As to whether the car had offered up a degree of hope he might be able to get back into the championship battle with Leclerc and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Hamilton added: "I'm not really putting my mind to that. I'm way off.

"My team-mate is fourth so that means the car should be at least third, and I'm sixth.

"I'm still struggling with the car. I don't know how to get around that, or what we're going to do. I'll continue to work hard."

Hamilton conceded he is struggling with the rear-end grip of the car, although is now hoping the car's race pace will thrust him into contention on Sunday.

"Yesterday was the best race pace we've had so if we can start racing with the Ferraris, for example, that would be amazing," assessed Hamilton. "I think the Red Bulls look like they might be quickest but we might be able to compete with the Ferraris tomorrow, and that's a big step for us."

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