Lewis Hamilton gushes over F1 rivals in worrying admission ahead of Las Vegas GP

Lewis Hamilton was left gushing over the pace that Ferrari demonstrated during qualifying for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver could only manage a P11 finish and was struggling to find reasons to be optimistic ahead of the race.

Hamilton was eliminated in the second part of qualifying on Saturday, along with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. After completing his final run he confessed that he “couldn’t go faster” in the W14.

There was more to celebrate on the other side of the Mercedes garage as George Russell finished P4, although with Carlos Sainz earning a ten-place grid penalty, he has been promoted to P3 on the grid.

Discussing a difficult qualifying with Sky Sports F1, he said: “Yeah [the car was] just not that great. Yesterday [it] was feeling a little bit better and we were looking relatively competitive.

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“Made some changes overnight, P3 was pretty poor… it kind of put me on the back foot and then I was just trying to recover basically in qualifying, which is the place to do so and yeah, just struggled with the grip.

“The car just wasn’t working for me and you know, it’s just definitely difficult when you can’t even get through Q2, but it is what it is.”

Asked to look ahead to the Grand Prix, Hamilton was still unsure of what it would bring for him and Mercedes, although he did note his admiration for the Ferrari. Charles Leclerc clinched pole position after topping all three parts of qualifying. 

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“My guess is as good as yours,” Hamilton replied. “Well yeah, one, with the car, and also two is just the tyre graining. Everyone has had tyre graining and we had massive graining like everybody.

“We had some rear graining in P3, so I think management, how you manage it and how you progress, where you push, where you don’t tomorrow is gonna be key. But I mean it’s impressive watching a Ferrari today. It’s a quick car.”

This is the third time this season that Hamilton has failed to reach Q3 with the other two coming in Miami and Zandvoort. With safety cars expected and tyre degradation an unknown, plenty of factors could help the seven-time world champion climb the order.

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