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Lewis Hamilton explains ‘long list’ of Mercedes issues after shock qualifying in Australia

Lewis Hamilton explains ‘long list’ of Mercedes issues after shock qualifying in Australia

Lewis Hamilton insists Mercedes have a “long list” of issues after the seven-time world champion qualified only 11th on the grid after a poor showing in qualifying in Australia on Saturday.

Hamilton, who leaves for Ferrari in 2025, had high hopes after finishing fourth in the final practice session but qualifying later in the day failed to come together for the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton looked to be safely in the top-10 in Q2, but quick late laps from Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll pushed the 39-year-old out of qualifying.

He will start Sunday’s race 11th on the grid – his lowest starting spot in Melbourne in 14 years.

“The car felt great in P3 [third practice], we were right there with these guys, but going into qualifying, another inconsistency with the car,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.

“It really messes with the mind. George [Russell] did a great job today, it is what it is, I have to do a better job tomorrow.

Hamilton said on Friday that second practice in Australia was one of his “worst sessions” for a long time. Asked what the issues are with this year’s W15 car, Hamilton replied after qualifying: “There’s a long list. Our car is on a bit of a knife-edge.

“When the wind picks up, it becomes more unstable. Others pick up their pace in qualifying, but the grip wasn’t there - it felt better in P3.

“It’s not a great feeling for anyone in the team but we’ll keep working away.”

Hamilton has not won a race since December 2021 and, with team-mate George Russell qualifying in seventh, the seven-time champion has not qualified above his compatriot in the last five races.

Lewis Hamilton qualified only 11th on the grid in Australia (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton qualified only 11th on the grid in Australia (Getty Images)

It is also the first time there is no Mercedes car in the top-six in qualifying at Albert Park since 2011.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff added: “It’s especially underwhelming. Conditions were different but no excuse, we have a car which is difficult. We need to continue working on it, keep getting better. Not a lack of trying but it’s not good enough.

“It’s never a single topic [issue], we need to keep our heads down and push through this.

“It’s an illusion to go closer to Red Bull in the short-term. But this morning it was not a bad car. We’re in and out of the performance window, we just have to continue to work at it.”

Max Verstappen took his third pole position of the season, maintaining his perfect qualifying record, with Carlos Sainz in second and Sergio Perez in third.