Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes' lack of performance during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend left him hurting.
Hamilton and teammate George Russell battled a lack of stability and too much drag during the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, as they set only the seventh and eighth fastest times in Saturday's final qualifying session, behind both Red Bulls, Ferraris and Alpines.
The faster of the two Mercedes by three-tenths of a second, Hamilton nevertheless qualified almost two seconds adrift of Verstappen's pole time, and appeared incredulous at the gap when his team radioed to tell him.
While Russell finished fourth in Sunday's race, Hamilton's afternoon ended on Lap 1 after contact with Fernando Alonso.
Speaking after the race, the Briton noted that he was trying hard to remain upbeat despite his car's apparent lack of competitiveness at Spa.
"I don't want to use the word 'disappointment' because you have to remember that there are 2000 people back at the factory who are working so hard to get it right," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com.
"Of course, I wish that we got it right, and had upgrades to push us forward. I wish we were fighting at the front, but that isn’t the way it is."
"It hurts, believe me, it hurts. But you’ve got to laugh it off and say 'I'm not fighting for a championship'.
"I have a responsibility to keep morale high. We’ve got to keep pushing and not be discouraged. Yes, it sucks, and the car is slow."
Viewed by others:
Mercedes to consult on W13 shortcomings
Hamilton added that several meetings would occur before this weekend's Dutch Grand Prix to try to eliminate the problems inherent in the W13.
"What we will do is talk about meetings we're going to have and talk about where we want to be with next year's car, what the problem is, what we can take from our understanding of the data we have and apply it to make sure the next car is not like this one," said the Briton.
F1 podcast: Could Honda stay with Red Bull beyond 2025?
As Max Verstappen took a dominant win in the Belgian Grand Prix, plenty of attention remains on off-track matters, with Audi confirming their 2026 arrival into F1, and question marks remaining over the involvement of Porsche and Honda.
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Belgium Grand Prix.