Hamilton frustrated after ‘difficult’ qualifying

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says pole position was his for the taking after he qualified on the second row following an engine scare during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver looked to be in danger of failing to set a time in the final shootout when he alerted his team to a loss of power when leaving the pits, but managed to attempt a lap in the dying minutes after Mercedes appeared to fix the problem.

“It was a difficult qualifying,” admits Hamilton.

“I don’t know what to say at the moment. The good thing is that I did get out to do a lap at least. It wasn’t as bad as some of the races I’ve been in in that respect of the engine problems, so I’m grateful to be up in third.

Hamilton was quicker than Ricciardo’s pole time in the second sector, but lost three tenths in the final sector to confine him to third on the grid.

“Obviously pole was there for the taking, but nonetheless I’ll do what I can tomorrow in the race to salvage what I can from today’s result,” says Hamilton.

“It’s done and dusted. I’m starting third tomorrow, so I’ll do what I can from there.”

Hamilton admitted that he was surprised by Red Bull’s decision to start the race on the super soft compound after setting his quickest Q2 time on the harder tyres.

“Unless his strategist knows something we don’t,” says Hamilton. “Obviously they’ve done a great job. I think that’s definitely going to be the best tyre. They obviously knew they had the pace, so good for them.”

“Unfortunately, these tyres are so hard – even though we have super soft and ultra soft – it’s so hard that it’s going to be an easy one stop for everyone, most likely. So there’s nothing you can do with strategy. I don’t think it’s going to make much difference.

“You can’t overtake here, so I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Hopefully we might have some rain, who knows.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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32 comments on “Hamilton frustrated after ‘difficult’ qualifying”

  1. Looking at Riccardo’s pole lap you can clearly see the extra grip he had on that car, especially traction in particular out of Rascasse and Nogues, but you could also see how much time Ricciardo left on s1 and s2, he had the traction but he was often further away from the apex than the 2 MErcs, that was up until the last couple corners. Looking at Lewis’s lap, he was strong in s1 but already in s2 you can see the start of the struggles, He liked oversteer but on the last couple corners he got plenty of understeer and poor traction, Rosberg’s last corners were also pretty weak. A perfect session and I think Lewis could have done it, frustrating especially considering that I think Ricciardo has more to give come Sunday.

    1. Exactly, Riciardo even had some spare in first two sectors.

  2. I think that Lewis will have to get a good start. If he does he can blow them away as long as he doesn’t get into trouble if you know what I mean.

  3. Beside a mechanical error, there was a strategic one as well. They obviously didnt count on having two proper shots as the others, so the should have ensured clear track for him (by sending Hamilton as the first one in the second rounds of Q3), instead they sent him to early and he caught traffic in his third (which was ideally the flying lap) lap and had to back off it.

    The chances of beating Ricciardo were low, true, but he could have beaten Rosberg and in case of defending his position at start have a first call in strategy, now he´s likely to just follow Rosberg to the flag and has to fend off threat of Vettel.

    Great Mercedes treat for Hamilton in Monaco continues…

    1. I understand they were afraid of yellow (or red) flags and thus leaving Hamilton at tenth, but he needs primarly to beat Rosberg, and this left him with very weak chances in qualy and in the race.

    2. I think Lewis was always going to be in trouble today after his engine problem, because we saw that he was fueled for at least four laps. Seems like he never had an option in the end but to run around burning fuel. I doubt his tires were at their very best either. The car just seemed to get loose near the end. He was up through sectors 1 & 2, but lost 3 tenths in the final sector. He didn’t make any obvious errors, but it seemed to me lost a bit of grip in the end.

  4. Ricciardo will start on SS so Mercedes might still be able to take first. Better be Hamilton.

    1. The distance to turn 1 is just so short, and being second means that the driver usually focuses on defending the position from the third guy in racing line, so i dont see that happening.

      1. @ kotrba:
        The racing line is where the even grid numbers start from. Ricciardo will start on the right-hand side, thus slightly off the racing line (which usually doesn’t account for much in Monaco). So I think it might happen, but Nico needs a terrific initial getaway to threaten Ricciardo. Lewis, however, is on the same tyres as Nico, and starts from the ‘dirtier’ side. It’s more of an uphill struggle for him, especially considering that his starts weren’t too great so far.

        However, if it rains, the inside line might turn out to be grippier, as there are palm (?) trees standing right next to the armco, which in the past have shielded this part of the track from the rain, as long as it didn’t rain too much.
        I distantly remember a wet start to the Monaco GP where all the starters from uneven grid positions (at least in the first few rows) gained places. This might happen again tomorrow.

        1. But honestly I cant remember the guy starting second in Monaco to beat pole sitter into turn one. (maybe once Webber by Vettel but I´m not sure)

          1. Hill blasting past Schumacher in 1996, from the top of my head. I’ll look into it.

          2. 96: Hill on Schumacher
            99: Schumacher on Häkkinen
            02: Coulthard on R. Schumacher

            Looks like the last time that happened was already 14 years ago.
            However, this is the first time we have two cars in the front row that will start on different compounds. Under normal circumstances, Ricciardo should lose less than 10 metres on the short run down to turn 1. But Nico’s starts have been pretty strong so far, so there is a chance that Ricciardo’s tyre disadvantage might be just a little bit too much. We’ll see. I’ll be biting my nails like I always do before the start of a Monaco GP. :-)

  5. I can already sense the first corner incident coming.

    1. Lol yea, where is Kvyat?

      But a lot can happen to T1. Riciardo is not worlds best starter, while Rockberg is quite good at starting this year.

      I reckon Riciardo at 70% to win battle to T1, Hamilton only if Nico and Riciardo crash.

      And once that RBR gets clear track… Seems simple win, just protect from undercut and that is that.

  6. I know I’m being nit-picky, but it’s already starting to annoy me a bit that the story that’s being told of this qualifying revolves around Lewis being disadvantaged by ‘engine’ issues. I don’t think there’s too much truth to it. Nico had exactly the same issue at the beginning of Q3, the sole difference having been that it occurred before he came out of the garage.
    In the end, Lewis had enough time for 4 timed laps. He made a mistake in his first attempt, immediately aborting it, and his final attempt was competitive, just not fast enough to get ahead of Nico or Daniel Ricciardo.

    Ricciardo’s pace was stellar, and Nico’s best attempt was also pretty strong, so I don’t think it’s necessary to dwell too much on that fuel temperature issue. Both cars were able to put in several uncompromised laps, and in the end, there wasn’t much separating them.
    That’s all.

    1. Yeah, Lewis Bias is strong. But both had same issue.

      And in the end for sure could have gonne faster.

    2. Strange when Nico has these issues he doesn’t seem to know about it. Face it you are been lied to.

      1. No, I am been believe statements that sound reasonable. With both cars being virtually identical, it makes perfect sense for them to develop the same problem at the same time. Just think of the 2014 Canadian GP. Lewis does use a slightly different MGU-H design after his failures earlier in the season, but the fuel system is identical in both cars, and according to the statements I heard, it seems to be a problem that’s bound to occurr again with extremely low fuel loads.
        Maybe Nico wasn’t aware of that, but that doesn’t mean anything. Since he was still in the garade, the mechanics didn’t need to tell him anything about it. They worked on the car for a moment, then released him onto the track as one of the last drivers. There was no reason to delay him if there hadn’t been an issue.

        Also: Why should Mercedes lie to us? Unless they’re compulsive liars, which I doubt, they have nothing to gain by saying anything like that. In fact, they’re making themselves rather more vulnerable by sharing the info that this was a systematic issue that affected both their cars.

        In my opinion, the sole reason to believe their statement was a lie is an uncompromising pro-Hamilton bias that cannot accept the slightest defeat without having to blame it on bad luck, intentional misbehaviour by others and/or a conspiracy against him.
        I strongly feel that this sucks.

        1. It’s called damage limitation. They are trying to limit the fallout of Lewis breaking down by making out Nico is also having issues. Think China? Lewis has water pressure issue or so we was told. It was said that Nico also had a race finishing issue, really after setting fastest lap after fastest lap.

          Wake up and smell the coffee. Stop believing everything you are told.

        2. ithout having to blame it on bad luck, intentional misbehaviour by others and/or a conspiracy against him.

          So, if it’s not bad luck or anything else, you saying Lewis is breaking his car? Sure. How is that bias any better.

          1. Can you name a single reason why I should believe your ‘analyses’ more than that of professionals? What kind of insight are you offering? ‘Wake up and smell the coffee’? Laughable.

            No, I’m not saying Lewis is breaking his car. That’s just silly, and it shows how binary your thinking is.
            What I’m saying is that Lewis’s issue was insignificant. It looked dramatic on TV, but his car worked fine in the end. So the story of the qualifying wasn’t that of Lewis being stopped by bad luck, it was a story of Ricciardo qualifying on pole, with Rosberg and Hamilton behind them, because they put in lap times in that order. Nothing else. No-one was at a real disadvantage, it was the result of their respective efforts.

          2. Nase I don’t understand your point the issue was Hamilton only had one shot at pole instead of two and would not of had the optimum tire window in which to complete his lap. That’s what the disadvantage was, being more than enough to affect the result.

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th May 2016, 18:10

    @nase – yeah it does wonders for your concentration to have the car pushed back by a dozen mechanics, thinking it’s over and you’re going to start from P10 and then reliving the previous race while you’re waiting, thinking this time you might not even finish and you might be 60 points in arrears courtesy of all kinds of ridiculous circumstances. Then you go out on a car that might stall any second and you have to push it to its absolute limits… Especially at Monaco where there’s no room for error and you have to be inch perfect. I think he did really well and I think the extra laps showed that either the car still had a problem or Lewis didn’t trust the car around Monaco.

    1. @freelittlebirds F1 drivers’ brains don’t work that way. When he was out there setting his lap, I doubt he was psychologically affected by what happened.

  8. Shoki Kaneda
    28th May 2016, 22:00

    Without suggesting any unlikely conspiracy undermining Lewis, it does seem strange that Mercedes’ assertions of Nico having the same issues never impacts Nico’s race. We also see no visible evidence of Nico sharing the problems. As Neil indicated, Mercedes is probably trying to limit speculation and damage by creating a narrative of team problems rather than Lewis problems.

    1. +1
      It limits the media from digging into the issue further. If Mercedes said it was just Hamilton’s car, the pressure would be on them to explain how this sequence of performance-comprising issues is happening just to one of their drivers. Hamilton is starting to look less than convinced by the explanations too. My impression is that Mercedes are indeed tweaking this year in Rosberg’s favour behind the scenes. Not so much sabotage, just a series of smaller decisions that weight in the direction they want.

    2. The Skeptic
      29th May 2016, 6:02

      +1 Mercedes are being too cute by hald.

      I don’t doubt that Nico both cars had fuel pressure problems at the start of Q3. They were both quite late out of the garage.

      However I am perplexed by the fact that Nico’s car got going without a problem (again), and Lewis’ then had a SUBSEQUENT problem once it was already released from the garage. That problem was unique, and seems unlikely to be fuel pressure.

  9. “Obviously, pole was there for the taking”
    The first sign of realizing another team can beat you is denial.

    1. The Skeptic
      29th May 2016, 4:50

      If Lewis were to simply shrug when he doesn’t get to the front – he would not be a 3 time World Champion. He expects the best from himself and the team.

      At Monaco – barring rain or misadventure – pole is position, and position is a result.

  10. … You know, for a guy who qualified third after a new disaster, he sure seems quite unhappy about it.

  11. Lee Porcelli
    29th May 2016, 7:52

    Obviously pole was there for the taking says Lewis.Such a graceous loser. Your starting on the second row in a merc / go and win it.My monies on Daniel.

  12. Not sure why he complained about only getting one proper run in quali, which spoiled it for him, because if I remember rightly, Ricciardo secured pole on his first run.

    So to say that pole position was for the taking is a huge discredit to Daniel, who did a phenomenal job today.

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