Lewis Hamilton says ‘inconsistency’ in W15 ‘really messes with the mind’ after Q2 exit

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for Australia.

Lewis Hamilton is now 3-0 behind George Russell in the early head-to-head battle in qualifying this season.

Lewis Hamilton has said he felt an “inconsistency” within the Mercedes W15 during Australian Grand Prix qualifying, having dropped out in Q2 on Saturday.

The seven-time World Champion qualified 11th after late improvements from Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll put him into the drop zone, and he admitted that not having the same feeling within the car was something that “really messes with the mind” after a strong FP3 session a couple of hours beforehand.

Lewis Hamilton: W15 inconsistency ‘really messes with the mind’

Hamilton has spoken about the strengths of the W15 previously, saying prior to the action getting underway that Mercedes have built an “amazing car” and the job the team have is to unlock its potential this year.

While team-mate George Russell put his car seventh on the grid, Hamilton remained pragmatic about his own session, but admitted that it was difficult to work out why the feeling he got with the W15 varied as it did from session to session.

“It felt great in P3, and it was strange because we were right there with these guys and we didn’t really understand why,” Hamilton told Sky F1 after the session.

“We then go into qualifying and just another inconsistency within the car, it really messes with the mind.

“But George did a good job today. It is what it is, I just have to try and do a better job tomorrow.”

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With different weather factors such as the wind playing its part at Albert Park, Hamilton explained that the car being as susceptible to those changes as it is puts it on a “knife edge” in performance.

That would make it more difficult for the team to put in an optimal setup window, but he reiterated that he and Mercedes will keep working on ways to rectify it.

“I mean, there’s a long list,” he responded when asked what fixes are required on the W15.

“I mean, I think our car is on a bit of a knife edge. I think in the afternoon here, the wind picks up, same as P2, our P1 was a bit better and then, when the wind picks up, the car becomes a lot more unstable.

“This morning was nice. We found the wind and then as soon as wind picks up, it gets a little bit less stable.

“But the others seem to be able to pick their pace up in qualifying. I’m not sure why, but the grip didn’t feel the same in qualifying, even though we had lighter fuel.

“It felt better in P3, so it’s not a great feeling for everyone in the team, but we’ll just keep working away.”

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