Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes was confused to be so quick on Friday and then on the back foot heading into qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix.

George Russell topped the second practice session on Friday as Mercedes hit the ground running having brought some upgrades to the Miami International Autodrome. The final practice session saw both drivers comfortably outside the top ten, and Hamilton says both results were unexpected before he managed to qualify sixth.

“Bit confused with yesterday’s pace,” Hamilton said. “We were looking faster than we really were. Then today was a surprise in FP3 to see us so far back. It was a bit nerve wracking going into qualifying. I think we’ve not really taken a step forward or anything but we’ve got to keep working.

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“I’ve only just qualified so I’m not looking at damage limitations; I’m looking at doing the best I can in the race. I’m generally really happy with the job I did today. I did the best I could with the car I had.”

Teammate Russell was also surprised to struggle so much after Friday’s showing, but says the feeling within the car told him he would be in trouble after dropping out in Q2.

“It was definitely a surprise, but after driving the car and experiencing how it felt, it’s (Saturday’s results are) no surprise,” Russell said. “Today it felt like a totally different beast. We had loads of porpoising today and we don’t really understand why. Ultimately that was the difficulty.

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“It’s the first time I’ve felt it all the way through a corner — so Turn 4, Turn 5 — I was just bouncing through it all, and then into all the braking zones. It’s a shame because I was slower today than I was yesterday, and everyone else .

“There were this morning but we reverted on that, and for whatever reason it’s still there. So it’s clearly something with the conditions, or I don’t know what it may have been, but the feeling from within was very different.”

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