Lewis Hamilton admits he doesn’t ‘feel connected’ as he addresses George Russell performance

Lewis Hamilton will start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from P7 after a disappointing qualifying performance.

It was expected that the W14 would bring a new lease of life for Mercedes this season, following the team’s disappointing start to F1’s new era last year.

Unfortunately for the team, their decision to stick with their zero sidepod concept has not paid off, with the W14 proving to be significantly slower than Red Bull, Ferrari and even Aston Martin.

Heading into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, George Russell appears to have worked out how to extract the maximum performance from the problematic car, qualifying in P4 and moving up to P3 following Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty.

Lewis Hamilton on the other hand is struggling, with the seven-time world champion only managing to go eighth fasted in Q3 on Saturday evening.

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Following this disappointing qualifying performance, Hamilton has admitted that he does not feel able to extract the best out of the W14, which Russell has clearly proved has potential to be competitive.

“George did a great job and is right up there on the second row. The car obviously has performance,” he said after qualifying in Jeddah.

“I just don’t feel connected to this car. No matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can’t get confidence in it. I’m at a bit of a loss.

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“In the high-speed, the car is a little unstable on my setup. It is a little different [to Russell’s]. There is one thing I did differently. Maybe it will be okay for tomorrow but less so for today.”

The Brit has also said that the only thing that he can do ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is arrive with a positive mindset and see where it takes him.

Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty and Max Verstappen’s engine issue will see the pair start the race in Jeddah from the bottom half of the grid, meaning that if Mercedes want to kickstart their season, they may not have a better chance to do so than this weekend.