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Toto Wolff

Wolff reveals reason for Hamilton's early qualifying exit

Lewis Hamilton endured a difficult qualifying session in Las Vegas as he failed to advance into the final stage for just the third time this season.

Hamilton Las Vegas
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Toto Wolff has revealed the reason behind Lewis Hamilton's pace struggles during qualifying for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Hamilton ended the season in 11th place, suffering his third non-Q3 appearance of the campaign.

The seven-time World Champion was joined in the dropzone by Red Bull's Sergio Perez as the duo battle for second place in the Drivers' Championship.

Qualifying in Las Vegas got underway at midnight local time, allowing for some of the lowest track temperatures of the season.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Wolff stated that Hamilton struggled to generate tyre temperature during the session which resulted in his lack of pace.

“He didn't have any more grip, I think we're talking really about four or five degrees in temperature difference between grip and no grip,” Wolff said.

“You can see there are some teams, the McLarens normally play in the front and they are they out in Q1.

“Ferraris out in stunning laps, both of them half a second ahead of everybody else.”

Wolff expects graining issues

With further low track temperatures expected for Sunday's Grand Prix, drivers could suffer from graining in the opening stage of the race.

The second Mercedes of George Russell is set to take the start from third on the grid due to Carlos Sainz's 10-place grid penalty.

Amid concerns over graining, which sees bits of tyre stick to the surface despite being worn, Wolff has backed Russell to remain patient in the opening laps of the Grand Prix.

“That wasn't looking good on our car. But we were on at a different time [for FP3], very early on a slippery track,” Wolff said.

“I think that [Max] Verstappen and [Charles] Leclerc are going to be very fast.

“George just needs to manage it from there and be patient until the worst part of the tyres go.”

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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