Andrew Shovlin on why Lewis Hamilton is struggling in qualifying

© Sam Bloxham for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Lewis Hamilton recently said he has to improve his performance in qualifying, and now Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Sholvin discusses what is causing the struggles.

After the Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying, which ended with Lewis Hamilton in P5 and George Russell in P2, Lewis said he will have to work on his quali performance.

Ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin was asked if there is something specific that Lewis is struggling with, or if it just has to do with how the car is performing overall.

“Well, he yeah, as you say, he’s always performed on a Sunday,” Shovlin said.

“And that’s been brilliant, because he’s always been able to bring home decent points for us.

“The car is a bit fiddly at times. If you don’t get it right in the window, you can end up struggling through the session.

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“The other thing that makes it difficult is that it is so hard to get through Q1, Q2 these days.

“And you know, a few years ago, we would just do one lap, middle of the session, it would put you completely safe. Sometimes we’d go through two sessions on one set of tires.

“And if you don’t get the right balance, if you get a bit of traffic, if you can’t do the right out lap, all of those things really cost you. So it’s a combination of things.

“But you know, the race pace has been good. It says that the car is broadly where you need it to be.

“But understanding the tyres when you’re under pressure, when you’ve got to make sure that you do get the lap in the first session, it is difficult, and that certainly makes it a challenge for any driver who’s not completely comfortable when they roll out in Q1,” the Briton concluded.

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