Both Mercedes drivers believe they will be in a better racing position at Zandvoort this weekend after the Belgian Grand Prix proved to suit Red Bull above all others on track.
Hamilton crashed out of the race on Lap 1 of the Belgian Grand Prix, marking his first DNF of the season, and he’s now looking to bounce back to form at Zandvoort.
Speaking just days after his disappointment in Belgium, Hamilton was asked by reporters if they would perform better at Zandvoort, to which he said: “We hope so. It should be in a slightly better window this weekend, yeah.
“Last weekend it didn’t look good and all that confidence that we built over five races kind of, it was like a ‘two steps forward and five back’ kind of feeling, but I think it was maybe a one-off, particularly with that track, and so yes, I’m definitely hoping.
“I think it’s going to be hard to beat the Red Bulls so it’s going to need something to come away and open up and create that opportunity, but that’s always possible, so we’ll see.”
Hamilton then gave praise to his younger teammate, Russell, for finishing in P4 at Spa and said that he believes he could have been up on the podium if he didn’t retire.
“George did a great job in the last race, as he continues to do during the year,” Hamilton added. “It’s definitely tough because I think I probably could have come second in the last race if I’d done the job I was supposed to do, but you live and you learn.
“We don’t have the pace, naturally, over a single lap – that’s something that we’re trying to work on – but race pace is definitely key in some places, so I’m thinking that we just have to keep on working on that, not lose our race potential, but try and improve our single lap [pace].”
Russell then reiterated Hamilton’s worries around their single-lap pace and said the gap shouldn’t be as big this time out.
“[Being faster in the race than in qualifying has] definitely been a bit of a theme for us this season: we’re still yet to fully understand why we have such a big swing, to be honest.
“The swing is probably less compared to Red Bull but when you look at it compared to the midfield, we’re often being outqualified by an Alpine or a McLaren.
“I was pretty disappointed not to get third position [in Belgium] because I thought had I done things slightly differently it would have been possible, but we just need to overcome our single lap struggles.
“It’s a shorter lap [at Zandvoort than at Spa], so I don’t think the gaps will be as big! I think, I’m sure Max and Red Bull are going to be in prime position and they’re going to be very competitive.
“We’ve got reason to believe that it may be slightly better than Spa, but I think Spa was also a circuit that brought out the worst in our car, so to be honest, we’re always going in with an open mind now.”