Miserable Lewis Hamilton gives up on Brazil GP after “horrible” F1 Sprint for Mercedes

Miserable Lewis Hamilton gives up on Brazil GP after “horrible” F1 Sprint for Mercedes

Mercedes started well with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton making early progress, but both lost tyre grip and struggled for race pace later in the short-form Sprint

Lewis Hamilton spoke after finishing seventh in the Brazil Sprint

Lewis Hamilton declared he “won’t be winning” the Brazilian Grand Prix after enduring a tough time during Saturday’s Sprint.

Like team-mate George Russell, Hamilton started the short-form race well. He made light work of getting past championship rival Sergio Perez in the early stages but used up most of the goodness in his soft tyres in the process.

And from there the Mercedes star was a sitting duck. Hamilton tumbled down the order to eventually finish seventh, having been overtaken by Yuki Tsunoda in the final few laps.

Understandably, he was downcast as he spoke to reporters after the session. “It was horrible. It was not enjoyable whatsoever,” he said. “I had a good start and then, after that, I just struggled with the balance.

“A lot of understeer and then a snap of oversteer. I was just fighting the car from very early on. And then I had no tyres in the end. I don’t really know how I’m going to fix that for tomorrow.

“It’s going to be a long afternoon, that’s for sure. I can only assume I’ve got the setup wrong. It is what it is. I’ll fight as hard as I can [in the Grand Prix], but I won’t be winning that’s for sure. I’ll just be trying to manage the tyres a bit better.”

Russell fared slightly better and managed to cross the line fourth. But he too was hampered having overheated his soft tyres in the opening laps and was 25 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen at the end of the 24-lap race.

Team principal Toto Wolff said it was a blow for his team and that the outcome of the Sprint raises concerns over their pace in the main Grand Prix. “We pushed very hard at the beginning, the car was not balanced right and then you put in some sliding and it just killed the tyres,” he explained.

Asked what he meant about the balance of the Mercedes cars, he added: “I think we had too weak of a rear end and it’s balancing them on the knife’s edge. Trying to hold on to the pace was maybe something we need to learn for tomorrow. But it was a bruising day.

“I don’t think there is a magic screw you can turn and then everything is fixed. It was very odd. Everything went against us today. We need to really scratch our heads hard about what we can do for tomorrow to improve. Today wasn’t good.”

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