Lewis Hamilton the ‘least confident I’ve ever felt’ after bruising Australian GP practice

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton lowers his helmeted head in the garage with a prominent Mercedes logo alongside him

Lewis Hamilton's complaints about the Mercedes sound very familiar

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is “the least confident” he’s ever been with the Mercedes W15 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix after “one of the worst sessions” he’s had for a long time in FP2 at Albert Park.

Having announced last month that he will join Ferrari in 2025, Hamilton entered the F1 2024 season aiming to return to victory contention after two successive winless years in 2022/23.

Lewis Hamilton has no confidence in Mercedes W15 at Australian GP

Although Mercedes have developed a new car concept for this season, the team have had a muted start to the campaign with the W15 with Hamilton finishing no higher than seventh in the first two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Hamilton’s struggles continued on Friday in Melbourne, where he was classified ninth in FP1 before dropping to 18th – ahead only of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas – in the second practice session.

The seven-time World Champion was heard commenting that “something is wrong” over team radio in the closing minutes of the session, with Hamilton’s fastest lap in FP2 1.557s seconds slower than Charles Leclerc’s pace-setting Ferrari.

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Hamilton cut a desperate figure after the session and admitted his confidence with the car has never been lower, having felt he was in a good position after the opening session.

He said: “I obviously don’t feel great.

“We had one of the worst sessions I’ve probably had for a long time.

“FP1 generally felt quite good – the car in FP1, run one, actually felt the best it’s ever felt – but it just got worse and worse.

“We made some big changes into FP2 and it was tough.

“After that session, I feel the least confident I’ve ever felt with this car.

“But there are positives from that [like] that FP1 run that we did.”

Hamilton’s comments come after Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, admitted the team’s setup gamble between the sessions had “massively backfired.”

He told Sky F1: “Well, we have achieved experiments, but we haven’t unlocked performance.

“In the second session, I think we’ve gone through a quite dramatic setup change for Lewis. And that has massively backfired.

“But this is why we’re having those sessions.”

Asked about the team’s constant experimentation with setup in a bid to coax more lap time out of their underperforming cars, Wolff added: “If I would say that I’m not frustrated, it would be not the truth.

“Certainly, we are, because we’re trying so much in all directions, but we don’t seem to have found the silver bullet yet, which helps to get us in the right direction.

“But we’ve got to keep trying.

“We’ve seen performance in this car before, I just don’t want to go back and say, ‘We’re just not good at these regulations’, because we have everything we need in order to get on top of that.

“And we will.”

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