Lewis Hamilton recovers but admits one area he needs to improve

Lewis Hamilton was beaten by his Mercedes teammate George Russell on Saturday in the 2023 Qatar GP.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton showed his resilience in the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint race, despite difficulties in qualifying.

Struggling in Saturday’s qualifying session, Hamilton found himself starting from 12th on the grid.

However, he showed his racing sense and determination by fighting his way to fifth place.

Starting with medium tyres, Hamilton initially faced speed challenges compared to rivals using softer compounds. However, his strategic tire choice paid off while others struggled with tire deterioration.

Looking back on his performance, Hamilton expressed cautious optimism about his racing prospects.

“At first I was quite slow on the medium tyres,” he admits.

“I know that the downturn will be strong and racing will come back to us.”

“Did I know I was going to be able to move up to fifth?

“No, but I was hoping I could do it all the time. “I tried to position my car as best I could, stay out of trouble and progress step by step.

“The car was still difficult to drive, but our overall pace was still good.

“I know I locked the Racecraft.

“I just need to practice my skills!”

Hamilton remains focused on improving his qualifying performance and recognizes the importance of starting third in the main race.

“That said, tomorrow we will start in third place. “Obviously this is a much better place to line up than it is today.

“We should find a way to fight to maintain this position.

“We knew it would be difficult to hold off the McLarens.

“However, they are a little further behind, so we will do our best to make that happen.”

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell got off to a strong start in the Sprint race, moving into second place from the first corner and briefly leading the race.

However, his challenge waned as his soft tires lost grip, resulting in a finish behind winner Oscar Piastri, Max Verstappen, and Lando Norris.

Despite the tire-related challenges, Russell expressed his enjoyment of the race. “I really enjoyed that!” he declared. “The first lap was a little bit wild. I had turn six in my mind as the overtaking opportunity on the medium runners.”

Russell acknowledged the unexpected rapid deterioration of his soft tires but found solace in the safety car interventions that aided his race. “I was surprised by how quickly the soft tire dropped off, and we were fortunate that there were a number of safety car interventions.

“Without that, we may have finished outside the points.”

He also highlighted the unpredictability of sprint weekends, characterised by limited practice and tire knowledge.

“That is what can happen during a sprint weekend, though, where you have limited practice and limited knowledge on the tires.

“Having said that, if we were on the medium, we would have still finished P4. Nothing gained, nothing lost.”

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