Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes car 'messes with the mind' after more misery in Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes car 'messes with the mind' after more misery in Australian Grand Prix qualifying

WATCH NOW: Lewis Hamilton plays with his dog ahead of Australian Grand Prix

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 23/03/2024

- 06:39

Updated: 23/03/2024

- 07:00

The Briton struggled and crashed out in Q2 after another difficult session

Lewis Hamilton has admitted the new Mercedes car 'messes with the mind' after he struggled during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

The Briton struggled in practice on Friday and could only finish 11th as Max Verstappen secured pole for the third race in a row.

Hamilton says the car initially felt great during P3.

And he's confessed Mercedes are struggling to comprehend their issues at the current moment in time, with the Stevenage-born racer saying his vehicle 'messes with the mind'.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton crashed out in Q2 during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix


"It felt great in P3. It was strange because we were right there with these guys and we didn’t really understand why," he told Sky Sports.

"But then go into qualifying, it’s just another inconsistency within the car, it really messes with the mind.

"George [Russell] did a good job today. It is what it is. I just have to try to do a better job tomorrow.

"I think our car is on a bit of a knife edge. In the afternoon here the wind picks up, the same as P2.

"P1 was a bit better and then when the wind picks up, the car becomes a lot more unstable. And then this morning was nice with calmer wind, and then as soon as the wind picks up it gets a little bit less stable.

"But the other teams picked their pace up in qualifying. I’m not sure why, but the grid 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 cracking away."

While it was a difficult session for Hamilton, it was another positive one for Verstappen.

The 26-year-old had to contend with the pace of his Ferrari rivals but still secured pole ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr and Sergio Perez.

And Verstappen admitted his pole position was 'unexpected', despite everything he's achieved over the past few years.

"A bit unexpected today in qualifying but very happy with Q3," he said.

"Both of those laps felt very nice and it was enjoyable.

"A bit of a tricky weekend so far but we managed to be there at the end, so very happy with that.

"Ferrari seem quick on the long runs, so bit of a question mark for tomorrow, but I guess that makes it exciting."


Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton could only finish 11th ahead of the Australian Grand Prix


Mercedes star George Russell, meanwhile, has admitted they'll be hoping to improve on Sunday - with the Briton insisting the race in Australia will be 'more exciting' than usual.

"It wasn't the qualifying we were hoping for but it's so tight out there," he said.

"Tomorrow there's going to be so many unknowns with the hard tyre that nobody has been on yet.

"I think we are going to see more of an exciting race here than we normally see."

He added: "From my side, I feel a bit more confidence and consistency with the car. We know we need to improve in the high-speed corners and on this track there are quite a few of those.

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen secured pole position in Australian Grand Prix qualifying


"I think we will be in a much better place tomorrow when we have more fuel in the car and the pace is a little slower from everybody. But this circuit is not playing to our strengths.

"I'm just focused on myself and my team and trying to maximise it.

"I can't really comment on Lewis' feeling. Ultimately, we are not quite where we want to be.

"We had a strong qualifying in Bahrain with P3. If it wasn't for the problems in the race we would have been fighting for the podium and we were P5 in Jeddah.

"P7 is not ideal but there's definitely a lot to play for tomorrow."

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