Lewis Hamilton: “I think it will be good tomorrow”

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton admits the gap to Red Bull is bigger than Mercedes hoped, but despite this he is looking forward to “lots of opportunities tomorrow”.

Circuit Paul Ricard has traditionally been a strong track for Mercedes, so Hamilton’s 0.258s gap to Max Verstappen in Qualifying is definitely not a good sign.

“It’s a lot bigger than we’d hoped,” said the Briton of the gap.

“They’ve been so fast these past races and jeez… We are pushing and giving everything we can, but I think they’ve just got a strong package at the moment.

“But we’re close. I think today they were beating us more on the straights. So we’ve got work to do to improve.”

However, Hamilton admits his car was a lot better in Qualifying than it was earlier in the weekend.

“It’s been a really, really hard weekend, mentally… just trying to get the car into a happy place.


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“You wouldn’t believe how many changes I’ve made since Practice 1, going round and round, kind of chasing the tail… and it wasn’t really making much difference, I was still struggling.

“Eventually we made some changes literally 10 minutes before [qualifying] and was like, ‘just go with it, let’s see what we can do’.

“In quali it was much, much better, so I think it will be good tomorrow, but generally yesterday [Red Bull] were quicker than us on a long run, so it’s going to be a challenge to follow.

“But there’s lots of opportunities tomorrow, hopefully,” concluded the seven-time champion.

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas qualified in P3 and, while he is not overjoyed about the result, he also remains hopeful for the race.

“I was reasonably happy with the car, so actually quite disappointed to be third because it’s been otherwise a strong weekend and I really thought we could fight for the pole,” said the Finn.

“But I think Red Bull and Max just had a bit of an upper hand in the quali spec.”

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