Formula 1 Racing

Hamilton calls qualifying “pretty poor” as Russell credits his data for pole · RaceFans

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Lewis Hamilton was at a loss to explain his performance on Saturday after leading the final practice session but only taking seventh on the grid.

However George Russell said studying his team mate’s data after final practice had been key to him taking pole position.

The Mercedes looked strong in the build-up to qualifying at the track. Hamilton comfortably headed the final practice session, lapping around four tenths of a second quicker than Max Verstappen and Russell.

The Mercedes pair headed Q2, Russell ahead of Hamilton, both lapping under 1’12. In Q3 neither replicated those times, but Russell’s 1’12.000 proved enough for pole position, six places ahead of Hamilton on a 1’12.280.

“The whole qualifying was pretty poor from my side,” Hamilton told Canal+ afterwards. “Just the car was not the same when I got into qualifying.”

However Hamilton said he was pleased with the progress Mercedes had showed with its first pole position since his at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

“The team’s doing a great job,” he said. “Everyone’s doing such a great job with developing the car and it’s great to see us have performance back on us again. Congrats to George, I’m sure he’ll do a good job tomorrow.”

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He admitted he was “looking forward to going home” after his disappointing result.

Russell said he studied Hamilton’s data closely after final practice to see where he could improve. “This weekend’s been really challenging because of the conditions yesterday,” he said. “You’ve had rain around all weekend and then this morning Lewis was absolutely flying and you know he was well ahead of me.

“I had to look a lot into his data to try and understand what he was doing differently. And to be honest, that helped me a huge amount.

“So ahead of this qualifying I’m just so glad that we could pull it off because I feel like we really deserve it for all of this hard work we’ve been putting in and the cars been feeling awesome this weekend.”

The pole winner said it had been “really challenging” to stay on top of the changing conditions at the track. “All weekend, every single session and every lap it’s been changing. The sun comes out, the track temperature warms up, then the clouds come in, it’s spitting.

“It’s just really, really difficult to find that sweet spot. My lap on the used tyre was really, really strong in Q3. And I was expecting…

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