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Hamilton: Do you have any better questions?

Hamilton: Do you have any better questions?

Hamilton: Do you have any better questions?

Lewis Hamilton was not in the mood to answer questions after finishing ninth in the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, following another poor showing for Mercedes.

At the circuit that separated he men from the boys, the seven-time Formula 1 Champion qualified seventh, bettering his younger teammate George Russell who was ninth in qualifying.

However, after the race, Hamilton was ninth and Russell was seventh after a late race pass on McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. Hamilton on the other hand had to move over and let his teammate pass earlier in the race under team orders while struggling for pace.

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Facing the media after the race, a downbeat Hamilton was not willing to entertain many questions, which in his defense could’ve been better.

Asked if he was jealous of the current form of his future team, Ferrari, Hamilton simply answered: “No.”

Pushed further and asked if he was looking forward to joining the Italian squad, the Briton simply said: “Do you have any better questions? I’m sorry.”

That ended his brief post race media talk, but later in Mercedes’ race report, Hamilton reflected on his race, revealing he was driving a damaged W15.

“It was a difficult day today,” he admitted. “I did my best, but the result wasn’t a good one. Unfortunately, that is where our car is at the moment.

“I didn’t feel great on the Hard tyre and picked up a little bit of damage on the restart. I had lots of understeer, particularly during that first stint, which was why I decided to let George past.

“Once we put on the Medium compound, it started to feel a little better. The final stint was the first time in the race that I felt like I had good grip.

“We need to keep working hard as today, our pace was likely only good enough for P6. If we want to move up the grid, then we will need to add more performance to the car,” Hamilton concluded.

Russell avoids a penalty

Russell survived a late-race contact with Piastri to take seventh, the supposedly future Mercedes team leader, showing more and more that he is suspect to incidents in close racing situations.

Russell and Piastri faced the stewards as the former was accused by McLaren of pushing the latter off the track, but the stewards deemed it a racing incidents.

Russell said after the race: “We moved forward today and that was positive. The plan to start on the Hard tyre after the red flag was to give us the flexibility to attempt either a one-stop or a two-stop.

“It was good to have this freedom and ultimately, we ended up on the two-stop strategy as the one stop wasn’t working. We had a challenging opening stint but after that first stop, our pace looked competitive to those ahead.

It was an exciting race towards the end. It’s always nice to be attacking rather than defending, and it was good, hard racing.

“There was some contact with Oscar, which was a racing incident, but I was glad to get the position in the end,” he added reflecting on the Piastri skirmish.

“It’s close between the four teams behind Red Bull and qualifying is going to be critical at each race. Whoever starts ahead will likely finish at the front of that pack.

“We know we’ve got work to do and we will keep pushing. Hopefully a track like the one in China will suit us better,” Russell concluded.

Mercedes’ weekend better than the results suggest

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff who planned to skip the Japanese GP, but then decided against that, reflected on his team’s weekend at Suzuka.

He said: “It was a difficult race today. Our second and third stints were quick and were similar to those ahead who were fighting for the podium.

“A poor first stint cost us today though and we need to find out why that was. Our decision to take the restart on the Hard tyres was the right one I feel, and, in the beginning, our pace was stable with our direct competitors. We suddenly dropped one to two seconds a lap though and at the moment, it was clear that the tyres wouldn’t make the one-stop viable for us,” he explained.

“Overall, this weekend has been better than the final results suggest,” the Austrian added, trying to find positives. “We have lots to learn and there is no track relevant excuse we will use; we need to be quick at all circuits. But from what we’ve seen here, we can say that the car is becoming quicker.

“We will continue to work hard, and I am excited to head back to China in a few weeks after such a long absence from the calendar,” he concluded.

Mercedes leave Japan fourth in the 2024 F1 Constructors’ Championship with 34 points. The are sandwiched between their power unit customers, McLaren in third with 69 points and Aston Martin just one point behind in fifth. (Additional reporting by Agnes Carlier from Suzuka)