Lewis Hamilton says that he can’t find confidence in Mercedes’ 2023 Formula 1 car.
The seven-time World Champion ended qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in eighth place, almost one second down on pole-sitter Sergio Perez.
His team-mate George Russell was in fifth place, almost four-tenths of a second in front, which converts into a second row start when accounting for Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty.
Hamilton endured the first winless season of his career in 2022 and has struggled to get up to speed with Mercedes’ W14 challenger, which once again doesn’t appear to possess front-running pace.
While Hamilton praised the performance of Russell, he says that he is fighting his own demons behind the cockpit.
“The car is where it is,” he said. “George did a great job, he’s right up there on the second row. The car’s obviously got performance, I don’t feel connected to this car.
“No matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can’t get confidence in it. I’m at a bit of a loss with it.”
However, he asserts that he is willing to give all he can to get on top of the gremlins: “There’s no such thing as can’t.
“I couldn’t get any more out of the car today but I’ve got to keep trying.”
Over the previous week, Hamilton’s future at Mercedes has been a prominent talking point, with some suggesting that he could leave the team if it is unable to become competitive again.
After qualifying on Saturday, Hamilton once again moved to clarify that he isn’t shifting towards a Mercedes exit.
“I love this team, I’m so grateful for everyone that’s been on journey with me,” he said. “I don’t envisage being anywhere else, I don’t see myself quitting.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s giving me a lot. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. But I am trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place.”