Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Hard to finish higher than fourth in China – Hamilton

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said it will be hard for him to finish higher than he has qualified after taking fourth on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.

“I’m confident I can stay where I am,” said Hamilton, “Moving forwards is going to be tough.”

Valtteri Bottas did a good long run, the two [Ferrari] guys ahead did a long run.”

While Hamilton expects overtaking will be possible he’s doubtful there will be many strategic options in the race.

“It’s a second [performance advantage you need] to overtake here. I think the start is an opportunity.

“[On] strategy, the tyres are still quite hard this year. Even with the one step softer everywhere we’re still doing one-stops. The fact that in Bahrain, such an aggressive circuit, we can still do one-stops that easily just says they’re still too hard, the tyres.”

Hamilton said his car “wasn’t enjoyable to drive” today and he’s concerned about the pace of the Ferraris.

“For some reason their car is working everywhere. And it’s very strange, you go to Bahrain where it’s really hot, you would expect Ferrari to be strong but they’re even stronger than we expected. But then in the race we actually weren’t too bad which also wasn’t expected.

“And then we come here in the cooler conditions people expected we would be doing and their car, a bit like last year, their car works everywhere. And we’re seeing that again right now.

“How long it’ll last, I don’t know, there’s nothing I can do, all I can do is try and do the best job I can. I’ve definitely been disciplined all week, I’ve done the best I can with the set-up. There was definitely a shock when we got into [third practice] and the car was completely different and I didn’t make any changes.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Hard to finish higher than fourth in China – Hamilton”

  1. I still think he is a much a favourite for the win as anyone. Ferrari and Merc to 1 stop by the sounds of it.

  2. The DIVA CAR HAS RETURNED!!! At least tomorrow we have something to wake up for.

  3. One more «e-champion»…

  4. Lewis is starting to sound frustrated. After pre-season, he probably thought this was in the bag. Even after Australia, that could arguably be a fair opinion despite finishing behind Vettel. Now however, Ferrari is looking mighty strong. Will be interesting to see if fortunes change come the European season.

    1. Mercedes have been complacent on strategy the first two races, which they should have won. I don’t get the mindset of the teams some times. They invest millions in eeking out a few hundredths of a second of performance, and then hand over everything to computer software that tells them they can go easy (Australia) when actually they couldn’t, or hold their drivers back in Bahrain for failing to see earlier enough that Vettel was staying out – which seemed an obvious possibility to me after the pit lane accident: Ferrari weren’t going to be keen to pit again after that, and if they had the option to stay out, it would be preferable. As indeed happened.

      1. Mercedes must be super confident of coming back at Ferrari to gift them these early wins. Far from looking more competitive the early start is looking decidedly ‘odd’.

    2. Wasn’t last year starting out the same way. Ferrari stronger. Then mid season the tables turned. Time will tell on this year.

  5. The development race will certainly be interesting.

  6. Undersellig as always.

  7. For the life of me, this season I can’t find torrents until more than a day after. Anyone?

  8. The 44 car needs to be wary of the 33 behind him out for revenge.

  9. Well surely he is managing expectation. Bar anything unusual (accident, car failure or another freak event that puts the race on its head) it is realistically certain he is going to be on podium. The only question is which step and the start is probably a big factor in that.

  10. I wonder if this poor performance by Hamilton is about the long game?

    Are the drivers even now being forced to save their engines and simply not drive flat out when they could do?

    The first loss where Hamilton was driving slower than he needed to due to a ‘miss calculation’ which leaves me wondering if this isn’t at the back of their minds even at this stage of the season.

    IMO This recent rule change isn’t doing much to help the spectacle of f1.

    1. The points lost for not getting pole are a lot costlier than an engine change. At the right race Mercedes or Ferrari could start in pit lane and finish in top 6. 17 points loss. If he finishes 4th tomorrow that’s 13 points loss so no, I highly doubt anybody is saving an engine in quali.

      1. There is no point loss for not getting pole. That is only incanerican racing like nascar

  11. Btw has anyone seen that story hinting that ‘oil burning’ may be harder to spot in qualifying despite the rules to outlaw its use in actuality racing.

  12. I think keeping fourth will be even harder if he doesnt overtake atleast 1-2 cars in the beginning. Ric and Ver will be on much faster tyres! Seb has got this one in the bag unless some thing unusual happens! Midifield would have my attention.

  13. I think Lewis is painting a grim picture while knowing that race day conditions could flip everything on its head. With the warmer conditions, Mercedes should be able to hit their tires performance windows better. I doubt that is lost on Lewis. Maybe a bit of head games being played?

  14. Well, he was quite right!

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