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‘We’ve got to fix it’ – Hamilton frustrated by ongoing Mercedes issues as he praises ‘impressive’ Bearman

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 07: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes walks in the Paddock

At the scene of his last victory in Formula 1 back in 2021, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton implored his team to get on top of issues with bouncing after qualifying P8 for the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Hamilton endured some lairy moments throughout the weekend at the Jeddah International Circuit, notably narrowly avoiding the wall after a big snap of oversteer in FP2. Come qualifying, Hamilton was still battling with the W15, as he wound up eighth on the grid, locking out the fourth row with team mate George Russell in seventh.

READ MORE: Verstappen takes pole position for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he heads Leclerc and Perez

And the seven-time champion – who heads to Ferrari next year – made his feelings clear post-qualifying, telling the media: “We’ve got to fix it – that’s like three years in a row.

“There are so many elements of this car which are better [then the 2023 car],” he added. “It’s just we’re being hindered by the bouncing that we have, and the bouncing we have through [Turns] 6-7-8-9-10, which I think probably affected George and it’s something that they’ve not been able to fix.

‘Very difficult day… a real struggle’ – Hamilton downbeat after qualifying in Jeddah

“We made some changes overnight and this morning the car felt so much better, I was regaining this confidence again. And then when we get to qualifying, it disappears again. But George was doing a great job, he’s a lot more comfortable in the car and I’m a bit similar to the last couple of years I would say.

READ MORE: Verstappen takes pole position for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he heads Leclerc and Perez

“We’ve tried every set-up change. We can’t get rid of it,” he went on. “It’s difficult to explain it. We had some bouncing in Bahrain but nowhere near as intense as here. But that first sector is super high speed, a lot of yaw in the car, and a lot of lateral load, and the bouncing really offsets the car quite a bit.

“Imagine when the car goes up and down in the back, your balance shifts forwards and rearwards. If you’re doing that at 160, 170mph, correcting that each time… You know, the others, Max [Verstappen] is flat through 6-7-8. And the balance is just stable and that’s what we’re working towards.”

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 08: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG

Hamilton struggled to get comfortable in the W15

Hamilton was set to become the 14th British driver in history to race for Ferrari in F1 next year.

But he’ll be the 15th now, with fellow Briton, 18-year-old Ollie Bearman, having stepped up to replace Carlos Sainz at the team for this weekend after Sainz was forced to undergo surgery for appendicitis.

READ MORE: Who is Oliver Bearman? The new Ferrari rookie’s career so far

And Hamilton – who knocked Bearman out in Q2 of qualifying by just 0.036s – was generous in his praise of his compatriot, saying: “I didn’t see his qualifying but I think he did an amazing job in practice. To jump into a car in P3 and deliver the way he has, really, really impressive, really happy for him to have the opportunity.

“I mean, it also highlights that the car is pretty good… But great, great effort for today, and I’m sure tomorrow he’ll have a great race.”

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