Monday, June 24, 2024

Hamilton Bemoans Early Struggles at Spa-Francorchamps after Missing out on Podium Finish

Lewis Hamilton admitted his Belgian Grand Prix as not that eventful for him, with the pace of those ahead of him too much for him to fight for a podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver started third on the grid but was unable to keep Max Verstappen behind him, the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver fighting through from sixth on the grid to take an eighth consecutive victory.

He was also unable to match the pace of Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull nor Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Hamilton forced to settle for fourth. However, he did take the fact he was clear of fifth placed Fernando Alonso to make a late pit stop and take home an additional point for fastest lap.

“It was a non-eventful race for me today with not a huge amount going on,” said Hamilton.  “I was unable to keep up with the cars ahead of me and was struggling in the beginning.

“We know the rear end is our biggest issue and then we had some bouncing this weekend. At the end, I was keeping the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc within a few seconds, but I couldn’t get any closer.

“It was nice to have the gap to the car behind and to attempt to go for the fastest lap. It was gusty out there today and difficult to keep it on the track, but my lap was decent.”

Hamilton says the team know where they need to focus their efforts in a bid to close the gap at the front, and he hopes to come back stronger after the summer break.

“We know we have more work to do to close the gap to the front,” he added.  “We’ll work with all the data we’ve accumulated and try to figure out what we can do for the next race after the summer break.”

“I really felt that I could have been up there with Lewis” – George Russell

Team-mate George Russell finished sixth but felt he could have been fighting on track with his team-mate had he not been caught up behind a slowing Oscar Piastri on the opening lap.

Russell was compromised behind the Australian, who had suffered damage at turn one after contact with Carlos Sainz Jr., on the run down to Eau Rouge and lost a handful of positions, and he spent the rest of his race regaining the places he lost. 

However, he was pleased the team were able to score a good haul of points so to consolidate their second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

“I really felt that I could have been up there with Lewis fighting for a podium for the Team today,” said Russell.  “Unfortunately, I was boxed in on the opening lap behind Oscar when he picked up damage at the first corner.

“That cost me a couple of positions and compromised my Grand Prix. After that it was a good race for us, and we have opened the gap in the Constructors’ by 51 points to third place.”

Russell says everyone is looking forward to the summer break and to switch off before the season resumes at Circuit Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix.

“It has been an intense first half of the season for everyone in the Team, so we are looking forward to the break and the chance to switch off for a few weeks before we get back racing again at Zandvoort,” he added.

“We know our goal is to win races, and I still believe that we can do that this season.”

George Russell finished sixth in Belgium – Credit: Sam Bloxham