2023 Miami GP: Lewis Hamilton blames Mercedes for nightmare qualifying

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was knocked out in Q2 for the first time on American soil in Miami.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton might be praying for rain on Sunday at the Miami Grand Prix, after the Mercedes driver endured a horrific qualifying session at the Miami International Autodrome.

For the first time on American soil in his Formula 1 career, Hamilton was eliminated in Q2 on Saturday afternoon, following a disastrous final few minutes of the session.

Hamilton’s entire qualifying session was a bit of a mess, with the 38-year-old having only safely progressed into the second part of qualifying thanks to his final lap in Q1, with the same being said for team-mate George Russell.

Q2, though, was as far as the 103-time polesitter could progress in Miami after making a costly error at the first corner on his final lap, resulting in his corner speed throughout the opening sector being hampered.

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Hamilton was forced to push incredibly hard in Q2 having also made a mistake on his first lap in the second part of qualifying, just to add to his struggles.

Ultimately, the Stevenage-born driver could only manage 13th on the grid, meaning he’ll be starting from the seventh row on Sunday.

He was understandably frustrated to have been eliminated in Q2 and seemingly wasn’t pleased with his team, who he criticised over the radio.

“We left that way too late, guys!” Hamilton told the Silver Arrows over the radio.

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It’s believed that Hamilton wasn’t happy with how late he was made to leave the garage in order to start his out-lap, something for the team to perhaps look into before the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in two weeks.

Nevertheless, Hamilton has it all to do on Sunday at a track he hasn’t looked comfortable on all weekend, with that generally being the story of Mercedes’ weekend so far.

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Russell was able to progress to Q3 and will start the race from sixth; however, the 25-year-old was somewhat lucky.

Each drivers’ banker lap in Q3 ended up deciding the top 10 positions, after nobody was able to improve on fresh tyres at the end of the session following yet another crash for Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc’s second crash at Turn 8 this weekend brought out the red flag with just over 1:30 remaining in Q3, with the remaining time having ended up being cancelled.