Mercedes is heading in the right direction, Hamilton thinks: ‘Car has better settings’

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Mercedes is heading in the right direction, Hamilton thinks: 'Car has better settings'

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton achieved his best qualifying of the season this morning in Suzuka. So far, the Briton had not managed to qualify higher than his teammate, George Russell. This weekend it seems that Hamilton and Mercedes are getting closer to the correct setup of the car.

Hamilton has been speaking more positively about the performance of the W15 since the start of the race weekend in Japan. After the first two free practice sessions, the former world champion said it had been the ‘best session so far’. During qualifying, Hamilton crossed the line in seventh place, two places ahead of his teammate Russell.

Mercedes is making progress

According to Hamilton himself, the success achieved so far this weekend is mainly due to the fact that as little as possible has been done to the car’s setup. ‘The team has made a lot of progress in understanding the car and adjusting the set-up over the past week. This is actually the first weekend that I haven’t gone completely crazy with the setup,” he tells SkySports. “I’m not testing all kinds of things so I think we’re a little closer to normal.”

Not only does the gap between the two Mercedes drivers seem to have shrunk, the difference with the competition also seems to be slowly shrinking. During qualifying, the difference with Max Verstappen was around five-tenths, while that with Sainz was less than a tenth. ‘The others are still a bit faster. Last year we were a second, or just over a second, slower than the Red Bull, so seven tenths is an improvement.’

Good adjustment seems to have almost been found

No updates were made to the W15 for this race weekend. “I know exactly where the car is not yet strong enough,” says Hamilton. ‘I now know what to tell (the engineers, ed.). Still, I hope that we will be even stronger in the race tomorrow. I’ve really enjoyed riding so far this weekend.’

Hamilton agrees that the Mercedes team seems to have almost found the right setup for the car. ‘We noticed that it was very difficult to find the right setting. We were always so far off. Sometimes it felt like there was nothing we could do to get the car to a better place. Yet it seems to have worked this weekend. So I hope that continues in the upcoming races and then we just have to perform even more.’

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