GUTTED Lewis Hamilton admitted he “definitely won’t be winning” the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver, 38, finished third in Singapore last time out.
Lewis Hamilton bemoaned a difficult practice day at SuzukaCredit: Alamy
But after two dismal practice sessions in Suzuka today to finish P16 and P14, he has ruled himself out of finishing on top of the podium on Sunday evening.
A dejected Hamilton – who is still looking for his first chequered flag since December 2021 – said: “It was a really bad day, to be honest. A real struggle out there.
“[We were] a long way off, two seconds off in the first session and over a second off in the second. We’re working away at just trying to fix the car’s balance.
“We’ll work on it overnight and turn it around for tomorrow, but we definitely won’t be winning this weekend!
“If I in particular can move further up the order so I can at least back up George, who did a not-such-a-bad lap… yeah, tough one.”
Hamilton added: “It’s figuring out what is wrong. We were much closer in the last race but we didn’t have many high-speed corners, only one, but not as high-speed as the corners here.
“Our car has, more often than not, been a bit weaker in the high-speed corners, so if you look at places like at Silverstone, for example, Copse is one of our weaker corners.
“It’s an area that we need to work on and get the car in more of a sweet spot where we’re not overheating our tyres as much.”
Then asked whether his improved FP2 time gave any reason for optimism, the seven-time world champ currently third in the 2023 standings fired back: “Nope! It was a really bad day, to be honest.”
Despite his frustrations on the track in Japan, Hamilton is making sure he is keeping himself entertained off it this week.
The F1 superstar popped into the Universal Studios Super Nintendo World in Osaka – and sported a personalised white and red polka-dot hat like Mario character Toad.
He took on fellow driver Esteban Ocon by racing their remote-controlled cars around the paddock.
And Hamilton was also seen supporting Sebastian Vettel as he built 11 “insect hotels” at the Suzuka circuit and painted Turn Two with black and yellow paint.
Hamilton whizzed around the paddock on his scooterCredit: Reuters
He has not won an F1 race since December 2021Credit: Getty