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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 04: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes walks to the grid prior to the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 04, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Hamilton predicts a ‘hard’ race for Mercedes after poor sprint race

Mercedes won in Brazil last year, something that will be almost impossible to replicate this time around

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Lewis Hamilton has admitted it will be a ‘hard’ day for Mercedes at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after both cars struggled with tyre management during the sprint race.

Hamilton struggled throughout the sprint (Credit: Vince Mignott via Getty Images)

The Silver Arrows won at Interlagos last year, with George Russell coming home to claim his first victory in Formula 1.

That looks unlikely to happen again this year, with both Hamilton and Russell struggling to manage their tyres during Saturday’s sprint race.

Russell had originally got off to a flying start, passing Lando Norris to claim second place on the first lap, before losing his position on lap five as the McLaren man flew away at an alarming rate.

In the end, Hamilton came home in seventh place, with Russell in fourth and 25 seconds behind the winner of the sprint Max Verstappen.

“It was horrible,” said Hamilton, speaking to Sky Sports F1.

“It was not enjoyable whatsoever,

“I had a good start and then after that just struggled with the balance. A lot of understeer, then snap oversteer, and I was just fighting the car from very early on.”

Hamilton struggled throughout the race, finding himself fighting to stay in the points, with Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo pushing hard behind him.

The poor result almost certainly means that the seven-time world champion’s wait for a win will continue past this weekend, with Hamilton yet to win since Djeddah in 2021.

Tyre management key

Having shown good pace last weekend in COTA, hopes were high for Mercedes at a track they have a good history at.

Much like in Austin however, tyre management will be key for Mercedes if they want to compete near the podium places.

Running one set of soft compound tyres during the sprint saw a huge drop off in the later laps, meaning it is likely we will see the harder tyres strapped to the Mercedes for the Grand Prix.

“Then I had no tyres in the end. I don’t really know how I’m going to fix that for (the Grand Prix) tomorrow,” continued Hamilton.

“It’s going to be a long afternoon, that’s for sure,

“I can only assume I’ve got the set-up wrong. It is what it is.

“I’ll fight as hard as I can tomorrow, but we won’t be winning that’s for sure.

“I’ll just be trying to see if I can manage the tyres better tomorrow.”

Hamilton will start the race from P5 on the grid, with both Aston Martin cars ahead of him.

Featured Image Credit: Mark Thompson via Getty Images

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