LEWIS HAMILTON is committed to staying with Mercedes — despite another miserable performance.
The Brit could only qualify in eighth for today’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but will be promoted to seventh on the grid due to Charles Leclerc’s ten-place engine penalty.
Lewis Hamilton has reiterated his commitment to Mercedes
Hamilton, 38, has struggled to get to grips with his new car
Merc boss Toto Wolff said he would understand if Hamilton wanted to go if they could not give him a car that can win.
But Hamilton said: “I’m not focused on that — I love this team and I’m so grateful for everyone that’s been on this journey with me.
“I don’t envisage being anywhere else, I don’t see myself quitting.
“I wouldn’t say it’s giving me a lot. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. But I am trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place. I couldn’t get any more out of the car today but I must keep trying.”
His team-mate George Russell has been promoted to third on the grid for the start.
Hamilton said: “George did great and is up there on the second row.
“But I don’t feel connected to this car and no matter what I do, no matter what I change, I can’t get confidence in it.”
Hamilton has also played down rumours of a rift with his former performance coach Angela Cullen.
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The Kiwi was in Bahrain for the season opener with paddock sources claiming they had a fallout but Hamilton insists they are still pals.
He said: “She’s moved on to a different phase in her life. We’re still super close, she’s texting everyday.
“She’s massively supportive and I’m massively supportive of her.
“I’m so grateful to have had her on this journey. She’s one of my closest friends and continues to be.”
Meanwhile, there were signs world champion Max Verstappen will not get it all his own way this season.
After his comfortable Bahrain win, Russell predicted the Dutchman could win all 23 races.
Verstappen had looked untroubled all weekend and was comfortably ahead of the rest of the field in all three practice sessions.
His best times were almost a second up on the rest of the grid apart from his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, who was still behind him but has now secured pole.
But he slowed in Q2 and complained he did not have much power.
As his team tried to resolve the driveshaft issue remotely he was eventually told to pit and they set about frantically working on his car.
But there was not enough time to fix it and Verstappen was dumped out of qualifying and will start 15th.
He said: “The car has been really quick all weekend and every time I went out, the car worked really well.
“I felt comfortable and I’m sure we can move forward.
“I do think that trying to win the race is a bit of a stretch because of the management that needs to happen on the tyres.
“Everyone just seems to drive to a certain pace but we’ll try to recover as much as we can.”
Max Verstappen was dumped out of qualifying in Q2