Mercedes issued warning by Hamilton of a “worrying” trend

The Mercedes driver was more than a second slower than Max Verstappen in Suzuka qualifying and is seventh.

   Lewis Hamilton has warned Mercedes of its “worrying” gap to Red Bull after he finished seventh at the Japanese GP. The British driver was more than a second slower than Max Verstappen, who lapped Suzuka by more than half a second.

   Hamilton was unhappy with his car after Friday’s practice, but Mercedes worked on their car overnight to find solutions to its lack of speed. The W14 seemed to favor Hamilton in final practice and qualifying, but he was still unable to challenge the best of the Ferrari and McLaren.

   “Yesterday was terrible but we made some good changes overnight and the car felt really good today so I was much happier with that,” Hamilton told F1 TV. “Unfortunately, we’re just not fast enough. We just have to keep working. Hamilton: We’re a long way off. Hamilton has warned Mercedes that its pace ahead of Red Bull is a worrying sign for next season as it looks to close the gap on its main championship rivals.

   “We are far from pressing power, which is why we are so slow in the first sector. But the laps felt really good, it’s only one second away, it’s crazy,” he added. “To open that gap next year and to be another second behind at this point is definitely worrying for us as a team.” Asked if he expected it to be a tough race for the tyres, Hamilton added: “We’re just fighting the wear. It’s going to be tough.”


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