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Lewis Hamilton “Lacking Confidence in the Rear of the Car” in Saudi Arabia

“George is obviously a lot happier with his car,” Hamilton said. ...

Now the first two practice sessions have come to a close, Lewis Hamilton wishes that the W15’s rear end was more stable. Despite having a “difficult day” of practice in Saudi Arabia, it isn’t all bad news for Mercedes with George Russell taking second on the timing sheet.

Lewis Hamilton topped out at P8 on the timing sheets, so what went wrong?

“I’m just lacking confidence in the rear of the car, in the set-up,” he explained.

“We did some work from session to session, changed the car quite a bit. But the underlying issue is the rear end that I was struggling with. So I had a couple of really big moments out there. In these high-speed areas you need to have full faith that there is a car and I’ve just not got that yet.”

Both Mercedes drivers were experimenting with a variety of set-ups over practice with Russell finding some confidence and pace. However, they had different aims with Hamilton focusing on stabilising the rear.

“George is obviously a lot happier with his car,” Hamilton said. “We kind of went in different directions today, we’re all trying different things to try and find the right solution for the car. But all I want is a stable rear and then I’ll be happy so that’s what I’m working on.”

Russell, for his part, was trying to discover how to get the best out of the car and why the struggled for race pace in Bahrain last week.

“We did a lot of testing today,” Russell said. “In FP1, Lewis started on one set-up, I started drastically different. And then in FP2 we did complete opposites, we swapped set-up to see what works, trying to learn more about the car, trying to get feedback from us both.

“It’s still early days, it’s only the second race of the season, it’s a new car, we’ve only been at one circuit beforehand. We need to keep on learning. So let’s see what we can do tonight, everybody back home is going to be working hard on the simulator and try and eke out a bit more performance.”

Interestingly, despite his quick time, Russell wasn’t entirely happy with the car.

“I don’t think we probably had the car in the perfect window. The lap times were good on the low-fuel. On high-fuel pace I’m not too sure where we’re at really.

“It’s so close again. The Astons have been a bit of a surprise but great to see they’re up there. But we’ve got work to do overnight and see what we can achieve tomorrow.”

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