Lewis Hamilton says that Ferrari and Red Bull are "second league" compared to Mercedes after being almost 7 tenths slower than Charles Leclerc and 6 than Max Verstappen in yesterday's qualifiers. The seven-time Formula 1 champion had to settle for 5th place for tomorrow's race.
Mercedes has improved in relation to free practice, but it was still not enough to get closer to Ferrari and Red Bull. “Those guys ahead of us (Ferrari and Red Bull) are in the second division. I'm happy with where we are.
We are not in the forefront, but we will improve and do our best, "said Hamilton. Mercedes has been struggling with bouncing cars since the start of testing, but the team found that they are plagued by some other problems, including aerodynamic efficiency.
In addition, there have been speculations that the Mercedes engine is not at an enviable level and that Ferrari and Honda are currently ahead in this field. Hamilton points out that the Mercedes W13 is currently a ‘nightmare’.
"I will not say that I feel relieved, but I am satisfied with the consideration of where we have been for the last two weeks and what the car was like. The car is a nightmare to drive, but we will keep working. I am proud of the team because it remained positive.
" After yesterday's training, Hamilton pointed out that Ferrari and Red Bull are up to a second faster than Mercedes in the race simulation, which is why the Briton said that his team will not be able to fight them and that their bigger problem will be Alfa Romeo and Haas.
"Those guys (Ferrari and Red Bull) will be very far away from us, so we are not in a fight with them. They were a second faster than us in the race simulation yesterday, so my fight is probably with the guys behind me.
Of course, I will try to be as fast as possible, but as I said, in terms of performance, they (Ferrari and Red Bull) are well ahead of us, "added Hamilton.
Russell is disappointed
Russell's disappointing performance in qualifying means that in today's race he will be behind Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas - whom he replaced in Mercedes this season.
"In Q2, I was pretty happy, to be honest, and the feeling of the car was good," said Russell, when asked to explain what was wrong. "I just tried something different (in the last round of Q3). We only had one set of tires and I was really pushing in my lap.
I came to turn 1 and I just didn't have a grip. " "I went one second slower than in Q2 and I expected to go a few tenths faster. It was a real shame, but I'm glad I tried something. " "Obviously, 9th place is much lower than where the car is, but we are doing everything we can to try to bring the car back to the top," he added.