Hamilton qualified eighth in Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, on a day when his team-mate George Russell gave the struggling team a boost with fourth place. Both will move up a place on the starting grid due to Charles Leclerc's penalty.
“Of course, George did a great job,” said Hamilton when asked by Autosport if Russell’s performance had been encouraging. “So, great, great result for him and he was able to get the car in a different place than me.
“I just struggled to extract the performance from the car. It's mostly me. And yeah, a little bit in the high-speed the car is a little bit unstable, my set-up.”
Hamilton confirmed he and Russell had diverged on set-up, with the latter also having trialled new parts on Friday.
“It's a little bit different, yeah,” said Hamilton. “There's just one particular thing I did differently, but maybe it'll be okay for tomorrow. Let's hope so.”
Asked how hopeful he was that the race would be better he joked: “I wouldn't hold my breath!”
Hamilton also denied that the Jeddah weekend has added to his frustration after the poor start in Bahrain.
“No, not really,” he insisted. “I think the car is where it is. I mean, George did a great job, I'm pleased that he's right up there on the second row.
“The car's obviously got performance. I just don't feel connected to this car. No matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can't get confidence in it. Yeah, I'm just at a bit of a loss with it.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
On Friday Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he would understand if Hamilton might want to explore other options after two difficult seasons, but Hamilton insisted he is concentrating on the job in hand and not thinking about anything else.
“I'm not focussed on that,” he said. “I mean, I love this team, I'm so grateful for everyone that's been on the journey with me with this team. I don't envisage being anywhere else, and I don't see myself quitting, I don't feel like I'm a quitter.
“But I wouldn't say that it's giving me a lot. You know, I've been there and done that, bought the t-shirt many times.
“But I am trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place. That's all I can say right now. I'm not going anywhere else.”
Asked if there was a point of no return when he can't do more to extract performance from the car, he said: “Well, there's no such thing as can't, right. At the moment I definitely feels like... I just couldn't get any more out of the car today, for example, but I keep trying.”Read Also:Red Bull F1 still on "another planet", says LeclercVerstappen: "Anything is possible" from 15th after driveshaft failureF1 drivers think Jeddah safety changes made little difference
Hamilton also confirmed that he’s on good terms with his former physio Angela Cullen after announcing his split with her on social media.
“Me and Ange are good,” he said. “She's moving on to a different phase of her life. We're still super close. We've been texting every day. She's massively supportive and I'm massively supportive of her.
“I'm so grateful to have had her with me on this journey. She's one of my closest friends, and she continues to be.”2023-03-18T19:24:09Z dg43tfdfdgfd