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Hamilton not expecting to out-qualify Russell for rest of 2024 as he explains ‘frustrating’ Saturday struggles in Monaco

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: 7th placed qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has stated that he does not anticipate out-qualifying George Russell at any of the remaining races in 2024 after another difficult session in Monaco for the seven-time world champion.

Hamilton’s prospects had looked good heading into Saturday’s qualifying hour, with the Mercedes driver having placed within the top three of every practice session during the weekend. But that pace seemed to slip away when it came to deciding the grid.

READ MORE: Leclerc beats Piastri and Sainz to home pole during Monaco qualifying thriller

Russell – who is running a new front wing in Monte Carlo – ended Q3 in P5, while Hamilton was two places back from his team mate in P7.

Reflecting after the session, Hamilton admitted that he was disappointed not to secure a higher slot as he elaborated on the problems he has faced during qualifying so far this year.

“It was looking great yesterday – we’ve really been working hard to improve this car, and from the get-go it felt great and we were obviously competitive yesterday and this morning,” the 39-year-old told Sky Sports F1.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: Sparks fly behind Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44)

Hamilton will line up in P7 for the Monaco Grand Prix, two places behind team mate Russell

“We’ve not [been] making any drastic changes or anything like that. The team worked really hard back at the factory to bring an upgrade in the last two races and also an upgrade this weekend, but we only had one, which George has.

“I anticipated it would be difficult to out-qualify George because he has the upgraded component, but it’s just great to see that we are bringing upgrades. But once we got to qualifying... I don’t understand.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive a frenetic Monaco qualifying as Leclerc delights his home fans with pole position

“I already know automatically that I’m going to lose two-tenths going into qualifying, and that’s definitely frustrating and it’s something that I don’t really have an answer for at the moment. I’m not driving any different, the laps were really great, just lacking something.”

Asked if the progress displayed by the Silver Arrows in Monte Carlo signals a turning point of the season, Hamilton responded: “I think from my team’s perspective, yes. I definitely think for some reason we’re a lot closer this weekend, it’s really great to see.

Hamilton left frustrated after drop off in pace from practice to qualifying

“The car was feeling great, so much better than previous years. But three and a half tenths is a lot here, and that’s still six-tenths elsewhere, so we still are off pace-wise, but we’ve just got to keep on pushing. We’ll slowly get closer through the year as more upgrades come.

“I don’t anticipate being ahead of George in qualifying particularly this year, but we’ve just got to keep pushing, and the races are strong.”

FACTS AND STATS: Albon scores his first Q3 in 2024 as Williams bag best starting slot in Monaco for 8 years

Pushed further on why he believes this to be the case, Hamilton simply answered: “We’ll see.”

Hamilton – currently competing in his last campaign as a Mercedes driver before switching to Ferrari for 2025 – has so far out-qualified Russell on only one occasion in 2024, having placed ahead of the younger Briton on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Speaking to Sky’s Ted Kravitz after qualifying, team boss Toto Wolff suggested that the upgraded front wing run by Russell in Monaco is not drastically different, but praised the squad back at their base in Brackley for preparing the component in time for the race.

“I don’t think there was much difference between [the old and new wings] on time,” Wolff explained. “But the factory just did such a mega job, the thing was flown out last-minute, and proved to be functioning, and we hope now that it holds.”

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