Lewis Hamilton blasts Mercedes with ‘real’ claim

Lewis Hamilton is growing impatient with Mercedes, just weeks after signing a new two-year contract with the team.

Max Verstappen clinched pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix, leaving Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes baffled by Red Bull’s superior performance. 

After a lacklustre showing in Singapore, Red Bull returned to form with Verstappen delivering a pole lap that left the competition in the dust.

Verstappen’s blistering pace left the rest of the field trailing, with Oscar Piastri, driving for Red Bull’s junior team, securing a distant second place, more than half a second adrift from the Dutch sensation. 

However, it was a frustrating day for Lewis Hamilton, who found himself qualifying in the seventh position, with his teammate George Russell just one place behind. 

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Both Mercedes cars struggled to keep pace with the Red Bulls, Ferraris, and McLarens.

Hamilton expressed his concerns over the substantial performance gap, saying:

“We, as a team, really need to, when we go back and do the debrief – I hope the team already realise – but a second gap is huge. 

“And it is real. To be two years in and still be a second down to the Red Bulls is not a good showing, and we need to make sure we work hard over the winter to get back at least half that gap before next year.”

Article continues below

He likened the Mercedes car to a precarious balancing act, noting, “We have a very peaky car. 

“It is like trying to balance a knife on its tip. It is never perfectly balanced, it is one way or the other. 

“You try and get it as close as you can to the middle but it is very hard to do each weekend.”

In a separate interview, Hamilton called for a reevaluation of the team’s car concept ahead of 2024, emphasising the need for adjustments. 

READ: ‘We can’t even blame that’: Red Bull remain baffled

“The balance didn’t feel great yesterday, we did some changes and good work overnight, and the car has felt generally really nice today. 

“It has been nice to drive through P3, so I’ve been feeling much more confident,” he said. 

“Then, in qualifying, I was giving it everything but that seven-tenths deficit we have in sector one, it’s all rear end. 

“Our car has loads of load on the front and not as much as we need on the rear. 

“So we’re a really long way down on that, and for me, it’s 100 percent clear that’s [a car concept issue] and we have got to make sure we change that for next year, which hopefully we will.”