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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton voices Mercedes qualifying concern: 'I know I'm going to lose a couple of tenths'

After suggesting he had the pace in his Mercedes to be on the front two rows in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton will start a frustrating seventh.

Hamilton FP3 Monaco
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Lewis Hamilton has expressed frustration and concern as to a trend he feels has emerged this season.

Throughout each of the three practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix, there was the suggestion from Hamilton's W15 that it was good enough to claim a place on the top two rows of the grid.

After finishing quickest in FP1, only the second time a Mercedes has topped a practice session this season, Hamilton finished Friday second best to Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the end of FP2 by just under two-tenths of a second.

In the final hour-long run on Saturday, Hamilton was third fastest behind Leclerc and Max Verstappen in his Red Bull. The seven-time F1 champion's session was compromised by a lock up into Ste Devote that cost him a set of tyres.

In qualifying, however, Hamilton will start only seventh, 0.351s behind polesitter Leclerc, and almost a tenth of a second down on team-mate George Russell, who has now out-qualified his fellow Briton 7-1 this season.

Trying to find a reason why he has struggled in his Q3 sessions this year, Hamilton said: "Yesterday [Friday practice] was really strong.

"But as soon as we started qualifying, I don't know if it was a turn down or something but the performance comes away from my car for some reason, so very frustrating that we were seventh."

Hamilton offered one possibility for his dip in qualifying around Monaco, adding: "I was driving the car the same through yesterday and today, and it was performing really well.

"The small difference between the two cars, George has the upgraded front wing, so that has created a performance difference, particularly in the high speed, but otherwise, I don't know."

It was another case of frustration at seeing his weekend again slip away. "I expect it now," said Hamilton. "Every time I go into qualifying, I know I'm going to lose a couple of tenths."

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