Lewis Hamilton says he is still “way off” entering the F1 World Championship fight in 2022, despite his Mercedes car having taken a dramatic step in the right direction ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The seven-time title winner qualified sixth for Sunday’s race in Barcelona, with teammate George Russell set to start one row ahead of him in fourth place.
It comes after the team seemingly found the cure for their porpoising problems by implementing pain-killing upgrades, thus closing the gap between themselves and the Ferrari and Red Bull cars ahead.
But with Mercedes having now delivered the improvements he has been calling for, Hamilton has admitted that he has work of his own to do.
Mercedes take a major step forward in Barcelona
Despite an impressive showing, qualifying was far from flawless for Mercedes, with the team left feeling there was still time to be found.
“I’m in the same position I was in the last race, but we are progressing,” Hamilton said, speaking to media, including RacingNews365.com, in Barcelona.
“We don’t have the bouncing on the straights, which makes a huge difference, but we still have some bouncing in Turns 3 and 9, so we still have some improvements to make, but the car is going in the right direction.
“In Q2 we were the quickest. The qualifying wasn’t great for me, but it’s great to see us stepping forward, slowly.
“We’re finally seeing that step, which gives us a better idea of which direction to go. Now we’re just waiting for the aerodynamicists to come through with more bits for progress.”
Hamilton can’t explain why Russell is ahead
Hamilton may find himself well behind World Championship leader Charles Leclerc, but there are still 17 races to go between now and the end of the season.
When asked if the title fight is now back on, he said: “I am not really putting my mind on it. I’m still way off.
“My teammate is fourth, so that means my car should be at least third and I’m in sixth.
“I’m still struggling with the car and I don’t know how to get around that. I don’t know what I am going to do, but I am just going to try and keep working hard.
“I can’t explain why [Russell is ahead] at the moment. I am just struggling with the car. I have no rear end during the qualifying sessions.”