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Russell searching for answers after Mercedes’ double SQ2 exit in Miami as Hamilton braces himself for ‘tough’ Sprint

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George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were both left to rue a challenging day behind the wheel at the Miami International Autodrome, with the Mercedes team mates taking midfield grid spots for Saturday’s Sprint.

Mercedes, having introduced a raft of updates to the W15 this weekend, lost both cars at the SQ2 hurdle, as Russell missed the cut for the pole position shootout by 0.013s and Hamilton – who clipped the wall – by 0.041s.

READ MORE: Verstappen claims pole in Miami Sprint Qualifying ahead of Leclerc and Perez

It means the pair will start Saturday’s 100-kilometre dash from P11 and P12 on the grid respectively, both with work to do if they want to make it into the top-eight positions and claim the reward of some points.

Asked what wasn’t working for Mercedes during the session, Russell said: “I’m not too sure to be honest. In practice the soft tyre was feeling really good on our car, the pace was good. On the medium we just couldn’t get the sweet spot.

2024 Miami GP Sprint Qualifying: Russell and Hamilton both knocked out in SQ2

“I found myself on the wrong side of it. It was tight out there and we shouldn’t have been in a position to be that close to the margin to the cut-off. We need to work overnight and make some improvement for the main quali.”

Russell was then asked for his thoughts on Mercedes’ latest updates, which include a new floor, front wing and front suspension, and whether they give him hope for the remainder of the weekend.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from Sprint Qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix

“I mean, I’ve got no doubt we’ll move forward in the Sprint race,” he added. “We need to try and get on top of our qualifying woes. It’s always difficult to fight with the cars ahead when we’re starting on the back foot.

“Everybody’s brought updates to this race; McLaren have brought a big upgrade, Aston had something [at the last race]. We’re kind of in the same boat as everybody else, but today it just wasn’t working for us.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, explained that there were no major dramas behind the wheel – aside from his brush with the wall – as he offered a blunt assessment of where Mercedes stand.

Sprint Qualifying Highlights: 2024 Miami Grand Prix

“The car felt really good in [SQ1], and then [SQ2] it didn’t feel terrible, it’s just we were seven-tenths off – that’s just I think the pace of our car,” he commented.

“I think the Sprint race is going to be tough. We’re [starting] in 12th, so I don’t expect a huge amount from there to be honest. It’s not an easy circuit to overtake on or to follow [other cars], so just trying to step into the points somehow if we can.”

IN PHOTOS: Check out the special driver helmets and one-off car liveries at the Miami Grand Prix

Asked if there were any ongoing experiments after his set-up gambles in China last time out, Hamilton said: “No, this weekend we’ve just been… no more experiments, just trying to make the car work.

“I feel like we extracted everything from the car, and that’s just our pace. We just have to accept it for the moment that we’re seven-tenths off.”

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