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Hamilton and Mercedes glad that season ‘is nearly over’ after subpar 2023

The seven-time World Champion failed to make it into the top ten in Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team reflect on a disappointing Qualifying performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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Hamilton behind the wheel of his Mercedes W14 after getting knocked out in Q2 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Image Credit: @F1 on X)

Lewis Hamilton will start the final race of the season from 11th on the grid, as he failed to get out of Q2 during Qualifying around the Yas Marina Circuit.

This put Mercedes on the back foot in their pursuit to retain second in the Constructors’ Championship, battling it out against Ferrari for the accolade.

Fortunately for the Brackley-based outfit, Carlos Sainz Jr. was knocked out in Q1 and will line up P16 for the 58-lap event.

Speaking to media after the session, Hamilton was evidently downcast. He said: “Just a very unpredictable car and it’s been the same all year. I am definitely happy it is nearly over.”

“More inconsistent than ever before – the moment you hit the brakes, the moment you turn, the moment you hit the apex, it’s massively out of balance and very hard to predict what’s going to happen.”

The Briton’s words were echoed by Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff. Much like Hamilton, the boss is hoping for a clean slate and better results in 2024.

He added: “It just didn’t come together, expectations were higher. I’m fed up with having explanations why.”

“We were good in the hot, not in the cold. I am just happy this was the last qualifying of the season and we are going to come with a new car.”

A better day for Russell, but work to do on Sunday

Teammate George Russell had a significantly better Qualifying, ending the hour-long session in P4.

Despite this, the 25-year-old believed he could have lined up on the front row of the grid. He topped both FP1 and FP3 earlier in the day.

Russell explained: “I thought we could fight for pole and we just didn’t make the jump every other team seemed to make.”

“Maybe we got ahead of ourselves after P3 after a very strong session. We were quickest every lap and on paper when the track drops 10C and you take out the fuel, you expect to make a one second jump but we only made a 0.6secs jump.”

With Red Bull as runaway Champions, the battle rages on for second in the Constructors’ Standings. Mercedes lead Ferrari, although the difference stands at just four points on 392 and 388 respectively.

Although Sainz will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a lower position than Hamilton, the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc managed to obtain a front-row start alongside 2023 Champion Max Verstappen. All to play for in the race, due to start at 13:00 GMT on Sunday.

Feature Image Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

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