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F1 | Belgian GP | Hamilton: “That's the biggest gap we have ever had in qualifying...it's way worse than I thought”

Lewis Hamilton expressed confusion over the W13’s disappointing 1.8s gap to Max Verstappen in the qualifying session at Spa, and remains focused on trying to problem solve the car's performance.

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F1 | Belgian GP | Hamilton: “That's the biggest gap we have ever had in qualifying...it's way worse than I thought”
Fuente imagen: formula1.com

After a disappointing qualifying session at Spa, Lewis Hamilton says he won't miss the W13 next year and remains focused on trying to understand what has been going with the car’s performance this season. 

Both Mercedes drivers were fast enough to make it into the top ten- Hamiliton was seventh fastest while teammate George Russell went eighth fastest. And with engine penalties for Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon, both Mercedes drivers moved up to P4 and P5. The significant gap however, of 1.8s to Max Verstappen’s fastest time in Q3, has left the seven-time World Champion feeling confused over the W13’s slow pace.   

In Belgium, after the qualifying session, Hamilton explained that there were no issues with the tyres and that the poor result was a result of the car’s lack of pace.  

“It was very straightforward. It was just not very fast. I wouldn't say that I had a problem with the tyres. It just wasn't, the car wasn't very fast,” Hamilton said 

“I think that's the car... but no, no, it doesn't make sense.”  

Hamilton then stated that he tried everything including different set-ups on the W13, but there was nothing left that could be done to achieve a better qualifying result. The British driver was also left shocked and confused over the 1.8s gap.  

“We tried, I tried everything I put everything on, I put everything off change wings, changed setup. I've done everything this weekend. I tried a lot of things. And surprising to see us just, maybe they've (the others) moved forwards. I don't know if they got upgrades or not. But yeah, difficult.” 

“Yeah, never, never, never ever thought there would ever be two seconds off. So it's way way worse than I thought.” 

The 37-year-old driver compared the unpredictable reliability of the W13 that he has experienced in this season's practice and qualifying sessions to those from his early F1 days: “2009 was pretty odd yeah - similar to that I would say.”  

When asked about his overall disappointment with the W13, Hamilton took the opportunity to give credit to the factory workers back at Brackley. The Mercedes driver also remained positive and focused on the championship fight. And while Hamilton is currently sixth in the drivers’ standings, the constructors’ championship is within reach for Mercedes as they sit in third place 34 points behind Ferrari.  

“I just don't want to use the word disappointed. But because you've got to remember, there's 2,000 people back at the factory working so hard to get it right. And, of course, like, I wish that we got it right and we brought upgrades that went and pushed us forward. I wish we were fighting at the front.  

“But it isn't the way it is. It hurts. Believe me, it hurts. But there's no point, at this point, you gotta lock it up and just say, I'm not going to fight for a championship. If I get too serious and too low, I've got a responsibility to try and keep morale high. We've got to keep pushing, can’t be discouraged. Yes, it sucks. And it's slow.” 

Despite the car’s pace in qualifying, Hamilton has chosen to stay optimistic with his P4 staring position but has kept a realistic approach on what he and the team can achieve on race day.      

“Yeah, no. That's how crazy it is you know you know, like, it's it was really slow. But we are starting fourth  tomorrow, and we maybe have a chance still to get in the podium position. Who knows? So just gonna stay optimistic.  

“Yeah, well, there's not a lot, we can't do anything overnight. We can't change anything overnight. So all we can do is just work with what we have. We don't know how fast or slow we're going to be tomorrow, it'd be a surprise if we are closer than we think . We don't know, that's the biggest gap we have ever had in qualifying.” 

Looking ahead to the rest of the races left on the schedule and on to the next season, Hamilton and the team are determined to solve the issues with the W13’s performance so that they can avoid  repeating disappointing results.    

“So what we will do is you know, talk about meetings we're going to have next week and talk about the steps you know where we want to be with the next year's car and what the problem is here what we can take from our understanding, the data we have here and apply it to make sure the next car is not like this at all. So that's what we, what I’m trying to work on I guess.  

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