The all-chrome helmet (which he has yet to use) worn for the Japanese Grand Prix risks being the best thing of the weekend for Lewis Hamilton. The 7-time world champion was the protagonist of a day defined by himself as “very bad”, in which the W14s appeared distant relatives of the single-seaters that threatened Ferrari and McLaren at the Singapore Grand Prix which took place just last weekend .
Hamilton, in the second free practice session on the Suzuka track, did not go beyond the 14th time, 1″141 behind the best time set, needless to say, by Max Verstappen’s Red Bull RB19. Things were already in Free Practice 1 they had gone the wrong way, with a gap of more than two seconds.
Now Mercedes will have to work a lot on the balance of the W14 number 44, considering that its twin, that of George Russell, at least on the flying lap was in fifth place, 91 thousandths of a second behind the fourth fastest time of Carlos Sainz Jr. and apparently in full fight for the podium with Ferrari and the McLaren of the usual Lando Norris.
“Things didn’t go any better in Free Practice 2,” Hamilton immediately stated at the end of today’s second free practice session. “It was a really bad day, if I have to be honest. We struggled a lot on the track. We were two seconds away in the first session and we are more than a second behind the best in Free Practice 2. We are working to try to fix the car, fix the balance”.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Hamilton highlighted how fast corners are one of the main Achilles heels of the Black Arrows. This is why his confidence in being able to do better than today is not as strong as he would like.
The comment on the hopes of victory is also laconic, but it is not so out of place if you consider that just in the seventh last season Lewis finished on the podium, one step away from the two riders who preceded him.
“It’s about understanding what’s not working. In the last race we were closer, but there weren’t as many high-speed sections. There was only one high-speed corner, but it wasn’t as fast as the ones we have here in Suzuka. I remember that at Silverstone we weren’t very fast.”
“It’s an area we need to work on to try to improve the car and not overheat the tires so much. We’ll work on it overnight and try to change things for tomorrow. We definitely won’t win this weekend, but if I manage to move up further I’ll be happy at the top of the table. George, for example, didn’t have such a bad lap.”