‘We’ve got a lot work to do’ says Hamilton after scraping solitary point in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Jaws hit the floor at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday evening as Lewis Hamilton failed to make it out of Q1 for the first time since the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix. But after finishing the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix down in P10, Hamilton declared that his Mercedes team had their work cut out to get back in the fight this year.
Hamilton was pessimistic after qualifying – which saw him fail to make Q2 after being pushed out by the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll in Q1, as Hamilton declared his W13 “undrivable” – doubting his chances of being able to stage a recovery drive to the front, as we’ve been accustomed to seeing from the seven-time champ over the years.
And unfortunately that pessimism proved well-founded, as Hamilton could only progress from his P15 grid slot to P10, that climb aided by retirements for Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso – although Hamilton was also hurt by the timing of a pit lane closure caused by the incidents of the latter two drivers.
“Personally, I feel like I maximised everything,” said Hamilton at the end of the evening. “I don’t know if we did as a team, but it is what it is. Move on.
“It was a difficult one. I saw Alonso slowing down, it was double yellow flags so I didn’t push to overtake him, then Daniel was stuck in the pit lane so I didn’t know if I could go in [the pits] with the car just sitting there. It was just not great. Anyways, it is what it is.”
Asked, meanwhile, what the learnings had been from this weekend, Hamilton replied: “The learnings are there that we are quite a bit off pace-wise, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
George Russell at least managed to put the team in the top five on race day, having beaten his illustrious team mate in qualifying by securing sixth on the grid. And Russell said that P5 was the most he could have hoped to achieve on Sunday night in Jeddah.
“P5 was the maximum today,” he said. “We would have loved to have had more but the car actually felt really nice to drive. We know what we are lacking and that’s downforce, but I think we got the car in a really nice window this race.
“I was pushing as hard as I could and that was really cool. It was probably the most physical race I have experienced in Formula 1, which was cool to have the body pushed to the limits. That concentration throughout 50 laps on a street circuit like this, high speed, it was cool. But I want to be doing this fighting for victories, not P5 all by myself.
“You always want to take the positives from a difficult situation, but we are not here to settle for that,” he added. “We can’t walk away being pleased with that.”
Mercedes now sit second in the constructors’ standings, just one point ahead of rivals Red Bull, but a full 40 behind Ferrari.