Lewis Hamilton has disagreed with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff over the German manufacturer’s new upgrade package for the United States Grand Prix. Hamilton admitted he was “expecting a bit more” from the new parts after claiming he struggled for performance in qualifying.
The seven-time champion was fifth fastest in Q3 but will start from P3 due to grid penalties for the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after the pair took new engine components.
Hamilton said: “It was a really, really difficult qualifying session. I felt so optimistic all weekend, the car had been feeling good. Everyone back at the factory had worked so hard to bring an upgrade.
“I was really hopeful that we were going to be much much closer than we were. Once we got to qualifying, I don’t know if it’s because the temperatures dropped or the wind, but the car was such a handful all of a sudden. I was expecting a bit more. I think in pure pace they are just [too quick]. Whatever upgrades we bring, the gap stays the same.
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He explained: “I think the update works. We had a lap in us that was three-tenths quicker but the car is so tricky to drive. I think for tomorrow we can be part of some exciting games.”
When pushed by Ted Kravitz on whether the new parts have worked as planned, Wolff stressed they were definitely pleased with their performance. He added: “Yeah it is. I think Austin was never great for us in the past and here it’s worked well. We were six-tenths off but could have been three.”