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Hamilton still concerned over mystery quali performance drops

Hamilton still concerned over mystery quali performance drops
© Reuters
Lewis Hamilton has reiterated his concerns about a peculiar decline in pace during qualifying sessions this season.

Lewis Hamilton has reiterated his concerns about a peculiar decline in pace during qualifying sessions this season.

At the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks prior, George Russell was the only one with an upgraded wing, but for the Montreal event, the seven-time world champion Hamilton received the part as well.

Hamilton first pointed out the problem in Monaco. "Automically I lose two tenths going into qualifying," he said at the time. "I don't anticipate being ahead of George this year in qualifying," he added.

Two weeks on, in Canada, even teammate Russell acknowledged that Hamilton was "flying" during Saturday morning's practice session in Montreal before experiencing a sudden drop in qualifying.

"Saturdays usually go like this, so I can't say I'm surprised," 39-year-old Hamilton, departing for Ferrari at the end of the year, told Viaplay in Montreal. "We didn't change anything on the car but I was half a second slower. The grip just wasn't there and I don't know where it went. It was just suddenly gone.

"But congratulations to George, because it's great for the team," Hamilton remarked.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also expressed confusion over the matter. "At first it looked like Hamilton had the upper hand," he observed post-qualifying. "It looked like both our cars were beating everyone, but in the end it became so tight, also for George, and then Lewis couldn't get a good laptime.

"We don't know why it didn't work out for him in the end. The tyre temperatures were in a good window. Lewis put in some strong laps today. It just somehow didn't come together in the end. That's why the result is a bit bittersweet."

However, there is also huge optimism within the team as Mercedes seems to be making strides in regaining its former competitiveness. "We've been sort of zigzagging over these past couple of years but in the last six months, those zigzags have narrowed," Russell stated.

Red Bull's Dr. Helmut Marko also acknowledged Mercedes' advancements. "Yes, Mercedes have taken a step forward," he confirmed.

"They were 2-3kph ahead of us on all sections of the track, which shows that they are good aerodynamically," the team consultant concluded.

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