Hamilton says it’s “100% clear” that Mercedes’ car “concept” is the problem

© Stephen Reuss for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.gar

Lewis Hamilton says “it’s 100 percent clear” that Mercedes problem is its car “concept”, and the team has to “make sure we change that for next year”.

After qualifying in P7 for the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton said it is clear to him that Mercedes’ 2023 car “concept” is the main cause of the team’s poor performance.

“Yesterday [Friday] was a bad day,” the Briton said.

“Each weekend we are having, out of the three days there is at least one bad day. The balance didn’t feel great yesterday.

“We did some changes and good work overnight, and the car has felt generally really nice today. The car has been nice to drive through P3, so I’ve been feeling much more confident.

“Then in qualifying I was giving it everything but that seven-tenth deficit we have in sector one, it’s all rear-end. Our car has loads of load on the front and not as much as we need on the rear.

“So we’re a really long way down on that and for me it’s 100 percent clear its [the] concept, and we have got to make sure we change that for next year, which hopefully we will.

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“It’s a steep gap that we have to close for next year but you’ve seen what the Astons done coming into this year, so you can make big steps.

“You’ve seen what the McLarens have done this year by going down the Red Bull route, they are now ahead of us on a track like this.”

As for qualifying itself, Lewis said:

“I gave it everything I could, I was happy with my laps, they were just not that quick compared to others.

“Even though the car is difficult to drive with the rear-end, it’s still an enjoyable lap. I think I was three and a half tenths up on George and for a track like this, that’s pretty decent.

“I just hope for a better race tomorrow,” the Briton concluded.

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