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Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix 2024

Hamilton makes Russell admission despite Mercedes turning point

Lewis Hamilton does not believe he will beat team-mate George Russell in their qualifying head-to-head this season, with the seven-time champion already 7-1 down. However, he is optimistic, with the W15 "feeling great".

Hamilton Quali Monaco
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Lewis Hamilton has stated he does not think he will be able to better team-mate George Russell much in qualifying over the rest of the season, after enduring a difficult Saturday session for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 39-year-old was in fine form across the early part of the weekend, finishing second in FP2 and third in FP3. However, that pace evaporated come the grid-setting session, with the seven-time drivers' champion only able to qualify in seventh.

Russell, meanwhile, was fifth-fastest. Hamilton explained to media including RacingNews365 that he expects to lose a couple of tenths in pace when it comes to qualifying. Something which has been exacerbated this weekend, with his team-mate running an updated front wing.

With the soon-to-be Ferrari driver trailing Russell 7-1 in their qualifying head-to-head, he does not see himself being able to better the 26-year-old in qualifying much in the remainder of their time together at Mercedes.

"I anticipated it would be difficult to out-qualify George [Russell] because he has the upgraded component, but it's great to see we are bringing upgrades," he told Sky Sports F1 following the session. "I don't anticipate being ahead of George in qualifying particularly this year."

However, despite his disappointment at a qualifying session which failed to deliver on a promising start to the weekend, Hamilton believes the team is headed in the right direction.

The 103-time grand prix winner underlined the improvements he feels in the W15 compared to the previous two Mercedes challengers.

"I think from the team's perspective, yes," he replied when asked if the Brackley-based team's strong Monaco form was a turning point. However, he was also quick to caution that the streets of Monte Carlo are an outlier, and the pace deficit will be greater elsewhere.

"I definitely think, for some reason, we're a lot closer this weekend It's really great to see. The car was feeling great - so much better than previous years. 

"But still, three-and-a-half tenths [of a second] is a lot. That's still six-tenths elsewhere. So, we still are off pace-wise, but we just gotta keep on pushing. We will slowly get closer through the year as more upgrades come."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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