Why Lewis Hamilton was frustrated despite upgrades delivering massive boost

The Barcelona Grand Prix weekend saw a host of Formula 1 drivers damage their qualifying efforts with avoidable errors.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have expressed their disappointment after making errors that prevented them from securing a front-row start alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Both drivers admitted to mistakes in Turn 10 during their final qualifying laps, which hindered their chances of surpassing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for second place on the grid. 

Hamilton, despite being genuinely pleased with the upgraded Mercedes, will start the race in fourth position. 

Meanwhile, Alonso believed he could have secured second place even after damaging his car’s floor in an off-track moment but ultimately ran wide on his final lap, missing out on a potential second-place time, beginning the race in eighth position.

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Hamilton, surprised by his contention for second place, acknowledged the progress made with the Mercedes upgrades and thanked his team for their efforts. 

Although frustrated by losing time in Turn 10, Hamilton remained determined to recover lost ground in the upcoming race.

Mercedes introduced a major car redesign in Monaco, but the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was deemed the first true test of the upgrades’ performance due to its demanding combination of long corners with varying speeds. 

Team principal Toto Wolff described the revised Mercedes as a solid package, highlighting the team’s belief in its potential. 

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The new concept signifies a departure from the unique design philosophy pursued by Mercedes in 2022 and at the start of this year. 

“To be fighting for P2 was a big surprise. We did some great work overnight and the car felt so much better this morning,” Hamilton said.

“So these upgrades have definitely worked so a big thank you to everyone at back at home. Massively encouraging.

“If I was fighting for a championship, maybe I would be a bit more frustrated that I lost 0.2secs in Turn 10 but I will try to get it back tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso was equally “hurt” after making two separate mistakes during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. 

The 41-year-old driver, who has been in exceptional form this season since joining Aston Martin, sits in third place in the championship with five podium finishes in the first six races.

Alonso’s troubles began when he ran off track during his first qualifying lap at the high-speed last corner, damaging the floor of his car. 

The Aston Martin team had to perform running repairs throughout the session, using adhesive tape to hold the car together. 

The team acknowledged that the damage had a “significant” impact on the car’s performance.

Reflecting on the incident, Alonso admitted that his mistake on the damp part of the circuit cost him dearly, as he lost control of the car and destroyed the floor on his out lap. 

He expressed his disappointment with his performance but remained hopeful for a better outcome on race day.

“Q1 did compromise everything,” Alonso said. 

“I did a mistake and went on the damp part of the circuit on the last corner and lost the car. That was very costly – the gravel completely destroyed the floor.

“It hurts even more because it was the out lap. I was not even pushing. Disappointed with my performance today and hopefully I can do a better Sunday.

“The car was behaving weirdly in a few corners but you never know if it is just the wind or track conditions.

“It was tricky for everyone but in my case it was just my mistake. The car still feels competitive even with some damage to the floor so if we put everything together we are still optimistic we can score many points.”

READ: McLaren react to Red Bull’s exposed floor

Alonso revealed that even with the damaged floor, he was on track to secure a front-row position on his final lap until he ran wide at Turn 10. 

He shared his surprise upon realising that his lap time of 1:12.7 would have placed him in second or third. This gave him confidence for the upcoming race, as he believed the car had the potential to deliver a strong performance.

Aston Martin, in accordance with F1 regulations, is allowed to replace any damaged parts of the car before the race, despite the prohibition on teams working on their cars between qualifying and the race.