Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton 'really struggling' with new Mercedes

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Lewis HamiltonFollow the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix connected the BBC Sport website and app, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sounds from 12:30 BST connected Sunday. The sixth circular of the play gets nether mode astatine 14:00

Lewis Hamilton has said helium is uncovering it hard to get the champion retired of this year's Mercedes.

Car upgrades helped Hamilton's team-mate George Russell to Mercedes' champion qualifying presumption of the play with 4th astatine the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 0.119 seconds slower than Russell successful sixth, said helium was "really struggling with the car this year".

"The car has imaginable to beryllium 3rd oregon 4th and I americium not capable to propulsion that retired of the car," Hamilton said.

"I conscionable don't consciousness that large successful the consciousness of my driving and I'm moving arsenic hard arsenic I can.

"I americium inactive mode off. I conscionable conflict with assurance successful the rear of the car. I don't cognize however to get astir that.

"I don't cognize what I americium going to bash but I volition support trying to enactment hard and trying to fig it out. I conscionable person nary rear extremity successful the car successful the qualifying sessions."

But Hamilton said helium was "seeing hope" for his squad astatine the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya aft a redesigned level eliminated the astir important occupation the the car has had truthful acold - a high-speed bouncing created by aerodynamic disruption connected the straights, known arsenic 'porpoising'.

"We person improved the car and stopped it from bouncing successful definite areas," Hamilton said.

"We don't person the bouncing successful the consecutive line. We inactive person immoderate bouncing successful Turns Three and Nine [the fastest corners successful Spain] but the car's a batch better.

"The [development] bits that person travel person worked, truthful that means moving forwards much bits volition come. I americium looking guardant to the adjacent upgrades that we get truthful we tin adhd immoderate performance."

Hamilton is tied three-all with Russell successful their qualifying head-to-head aft six races this season.

Russell said that helium believed the car was perchance faster successful the contention than successful qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton and George RussellLewis Hamilton leads George Russell retired of the pit lane - but it would beryllium the younger antheral retired successful beforehand travel the extremity of qualifying

"That was the champion effect we've had arsenic a squad this season," helium said. "We didn't person the tyres successful the close window. We were quickest successful assemblage 1 and struggling successful assemblage three. Ferrari looked highly accelerated this play but we person a amended contention car than a qualifying car."

The porpoising was preventing Mercedes from moving the car arsenic debased arsenic they wanted to for optimum performance, but the modifications successful Spain meant they could statesman to tally it little and entree much of the imaginable they judge the car to have.

Russell said: "Through the corners it wasn't fundamentally different, but we conscionable had much grip. We could get the car person to the ground.

"We mislaid a batch of wide downforce to get escaped of the porpoising. The car is not rather arsenic speedy arsenic we'd like, to beryllium capable to combat the guys successful front. But this is our baseline and we tin physique connected that and find a batch much performance."

Ferrari's Leclerc takes rod successful Spain aft spinQualifying resultCan Mercedes contention astatine the front?Charles Lecerc and Max VerstappenTitle rivals Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen erstwhile again emerged arsenic the people of the tract successful qualifying

Russell said helium was optimistic helium could vie with the Ferrari drivers for a spot connected the podium successful Sunday's race.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took rod position, recovering from a rotation connected his archetypal thigh successful the last portion of qualifying to leapfrog from 10th to archetypal with his last run, up of his rubric rival Max Verstappen's Red Bull and the 2nd Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

Sergio Perez's 2nd Red Bull splits the 2 Mercedes successful 5th place.

Russell said: "Max looks overmuch quicker than the remainder but we person a existent changeable against the Ferrari and unless they person recovered immoderate gains overnight we volition beryllium successful the premix with them."

The 24-year-old's comments were based connected the agelong runs completed by the teams successful 2nd signifier connected Friday.

Verstappen, who has won the past 2 races to devour importantly into Leclerc's title points lead, had an vantage connected mean of much than 0.5 seconds a thigh implicit the remainder of the field, portion the Mercedes were quicker than the Ferraris.

However, aft struggling with dense tyre usage connected Friday, Ferrari made set-up changes earlier Saturday and Leclerc said they had improved the car significantly.

"It is going to beryllium precise hard due to the fact that Red Bull is precise beardown successful tyre absorption and it is our weakness since 2 races," said Leclerc, who leads Verstappen by 19 points.

"It was a large weakness yesterday. This greeting we changed wholly the car and the feeling was overmuch amended successful the agelong run, but we were the lone ones connected way doing agelong runs truthful we person nary [comparison] with Red Bull. The feeling is determination but present we inactive person to spot compared to Red Bull during the race."

He added: "I americium successful a beardown presumption to commencement the contention but we person been struggling with tyres successful the past 2 races and Max is conscionable behind, and if we don't negociate to usage the tyres good we volition suffer the win."

Verstappen said helium had been impressed by Leclerc's gait successful contention trim connected Saturday.

"They improved their car rather a spot successful presumption of tyre absorption due to the fact that what I saw from them successful P3 was precise strong," the satellite champion said.

How Spanish GP qualifying unfoldedRed Bull impeach Aston Martin of copying designUnhappy Alonso accuses FIA of 'incompetence'How to travel the Spanish Grand Prix connected the BBCHeat means a tough, unpredictable raceSpectators structure  from the prima   astatine  the Spanish Grand PrixThe rainfall successful Spain... is obscurity to beryllium seen. Soaring temperatures person proved pugnacious for drivers, cars and spectators truthful acold this weekend

Temperatures are precocious successful Spain, good implicit 30C, and each the drivers are expecting a hard contention with tyres a large interest and apt astatine slightest 2 pit stops arsenic a result.

"It is going to beryllium 1 of the astir challenging races we look each season," Russell said. "Multiple pit stops, I expect, and it volition beryllium challenging to get the tyres to past to the end, but that offers opportunity. It is not going to beryllium straightforward."

The cars person been changed this twelvemonth with the thought of making overtaking easier, but Sainz said the vigor this play would apt mean passing remained a situation astatine a way wherever it has ever been notoriously difficult.

"Following has been a spot much hard astir this way this play than lately," Sainz said. "I deliberation it's the heat, and the tyres are suffering rather a batch from the heat. Every thigh you bash down a car is simply a thigh you overheat the tyres and you person little grip. It's a precise blistery Barcelona and it is not going to beryllium casual to pass."

Although statistic suggest the victor volition astir surely travel from the beforehand row, Verstappen said it would beryllium incorrect to presume that would beryllium the case.

"It tin beryllium important [to pb the archetypal lap], but besides not really," said Verstappen, who took his maiden triumph successful Barcelona six years ago.

"In 2016, I was 4th aft the start. Last twelvemonth I took the pb but inactive didn't win. You request bully gait and bully tyre management.

"It's hard connected the tyres with the high-speed cornering. If determination is opportunity, you spell for it, and if not, you don't. You settee and hold for the accidental and anticipation the bundle you person is competitory capable to combat for the win."

Verstappen besides had to marque changes from Friday to Saturday to amended the car's one-lap gait but helium said helium did not judge they would person compromised the car for the race.

"What we improved implicit 1 thigh won't wounded our agelong run," helium said. "It was conscionable the mode we balanced the car. There was conscionable a spot much imaginable for the one-lap show - we decidedly didn't bash that good yesterday and this morning, I think.

"It was a spot much tricky for america to truly find a connected car and we person that. When you find it successful qualifying it's besides amended for the agelong run."

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