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Lewis Hamilton admitted he won’t miss his Mercedes W13 after he ended qualifying almost two seconds off the pace of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The Mercedes driver could only set the seventh fastest time in Q3 at Spa with teammate George Russell one place behind. Due to numerous drivers, including Verstappen, incurring grid penalties, the Mercedes pair will start a more encouraging fourth and fifth behind Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso.
However, that was of little consolation to Hamilton, who was left downbeat by the pace deficit to Verstappen’s Red Bull, which has set the pace all weekend.
READ MORE: Charles Leclerc left bemused as Ferrari admit to 'mistake' during Belgian GP qualifying
After a number of upgrades and a tweak to regulations, which were expected by some to bring Red Bull and Ferrari back to the pack, the weekend has been a huge let-down for Mercedes so far.
“We came here very, very optimistic that we were going to be able to be close [to the front], half a second, who knows?,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
“To be 1.8 seconds behind is a real kick in the teeth. It is what it is. It’s a car we continue to struggle with and I definitely won’t miss it at the end of the year."
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Hamilton says he has already switched his focus to next year with nine races still left in 2022.
“For me, it’s just about focusing on how we build and design next year’s car. The teams ahead of us are in another league. Our car looks so much different to theirs.
“So we’ve got a lot of work to do, we’ll do the best we can and give all we have for the rest of the season.”
Despite starting down in 15th, one spot ahead of nearest title challenger Charles Leclerc, it would be no surprise to see Verstappen win given his obvious pace advantage on a track where overtaking is easier than at most other tracks.
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