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Other SportsAustralian Grand Prix: Hamilton's confidence in Mercedes car at all-time low

Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton’s confidence in Mercedes car at all-time low

Lewis Hamilton said his confidence in Mercedes’ W15 car was at an all-time low after he struggled to 18th in Friday’s second practice session ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton finished ninth in the opening session in Melbourne, only around a fifth of a second off pacesetter Lando Norris, but then slumped to 18th after Mercedes altered his setup between sessions.

Hamilton was heard to tell engineers “something’s wrong” over team radio as he struggled for pace, finishing well adrift of team-mate George Russell in sixth.

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The seven-time world champion has not won a single race since the end of the 2021 season and has expressed his frustrations with Mercedes’ last three cars.

He did likewise after Friday’s second practice, telling reporters: “I obviously don’t feel great. We had one of the worst sessions I’ve probably had for a long time.

“P1 generally felt quite good, the car in P1 felt the best it’s ever felt, and it just got worse and worse.

“We made some big changes into P2 and it was tough. After that session, I feel the least confident I’ve ever felt with this car but there are positives from that P1 run that we did.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff hopes the session will serve as part of a learning curve, telling Sky Sports: “We have achieved to experiment, but we haven’t unlocked performance.

“In the second session, we went through quite a dramatic setup change on Lewis’ car and that has dramatically backfired, but this is why we are having those sessions.”

It was a better day for Hamilton’s future team Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc quickest ahead of Max Verstappen as Red Bull failed to hit their usual lofty heights.

Verstappen damaged the floor of his car in first practice and was unable to fully recover as Leclerc led him by 0.381 seconds, with Scuderia team-mate Carlos Sainz finishing third after missing the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with appendicitis.

Williams driver Alex Albon, meanwhile, missed the second session after crashing in the first, losing control on Turn Six as his car smashed into the wall at the next bend. Albon’s team said they were assessing the damage to his car after that incident.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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