Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Hamilton says he would have been in a “better position” with Russell’s set-up’

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he made the wrong call on a “50-50 choice” on car set up after he finished fifth behind team mate George Russell.

Hamilton started seventh, four places behind Russell on the grid, on the hard tyre – the only driver among the top ten starters to do so. He sat in fifth behind Russell after passing Carlos Sainz Jnr at the Safety Car restart and finished five seconds behind his team mate at the chequered flag.

After the race, Russell was promoted to the podium in third when Fernando Alonso was handed a 10-second time penalty after his Aston Martin team were deemed to have failed to take an original five second time penalty correctly at his first stop. Hamilton finished just two tenths of a second behind Alonso in the classification.

“I feel we got some great points as a team,” Hamilton told Sky after the race. “George got third, which was amazing.

“I went forwards, which is always the hope – that you at least go forwards, one foot in front of the other. So I’m really grateful to have come through from seventh to fifth.”

After opting for a different strategy to many of his rivals, Hamilton does not believe the approach worked to his advantage.

“The strategy just didn’t really work out for me,” he said. “The set-up was a bit off.

“I think if I had the set-up that George had, I would have been in a bit of a better position. So lots to work on, but there are positives to take away from it.”

Hamilton says the difference in car set-up between his and Russell’s cars was a simple case of the team splitting their set up approaches between their two drivers.

“It’s just there was like a 50/50 choice – I chose one way, he chose another,” Hamilton explained.

“More often than not, the way he went is the wrong one, but it just happened to work. I could only match his pace rather than be quicker this weekend. But I’ll work hard to make sure that two are in a better place next time.”

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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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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14 comments on “Hamilton says he would have been in a “better position” with Russell’s set-up’”

  1. If buts and maybes, George Scored the podium after the FIA waited 35 laps to enforce a penalty but yet were straight on it at the start of the race. I feel like the FIA robbed us of a dramatic finish between George and Alonso

    1. FIA robbed us of a dramatic finish between George and Alonso

      Hardly. Alonso was clearly faster. He left GR behind and they only came close again ater the pitstop thanks to the 5s penalty. Then he left GR behind again and was cruising behind the RBRs until the last few laps when the new penalty was telegraphed by the Merc ratio and both FA and GR were racing again in the distance. And Fred won again.

      I am glad that the second penalty was finally removed and Fred can count his 100th podium. On the other hand, the extra 3 points might come handy for George, he needs to beat the whiner and consolidate his present status as Merc’s #1 driver

  2. Blame Canada

    1. LH like to play blame game now.
      Well Russel, LH hint so that you teach him how to set-up properly.
      7 time f1 world champion cry for team mate set-up???
      7 time world champion cant set-up his own car for best setting??? I LOL and LOL!

  3. Raymond Pang
    19th March 2023, 21:58

    Gotta say Lewis came across as quite bitter. He might have a point in that he usually has an edge over Russell on race pace, but to suggest Russell got his set up choice right through luck didn’t come across well.

  4. Come on, Lewis, after quali you said that the difference in set-up was minor, and that George simply did a better job. Now you’re suggesting that there was a significant difference in set-up. I mean, pick one.

  5. Here we go again….

  6. Are we back to the “experimental” setup excuse? Yes we are.

  7. Erm no experimental setup, nothing to fix. He doesn’t like the car so he has work to do.
    Merc as a team are missing lots of performance.

  8. NO MORE EXCUSES FROM MERCEDES, PLEASE, WE’RE ONLY 2 RACES INTO A VERY LONG SEASON, AND I CAN’T HANDLE IT! The car is horrible. We get it. The base design has a maximum capability that is at least 1/2 a second a lap slower than RB. We get it. Mercedes decided to spend their cap money on this car and that’s it. No chance, till next year.

    1. After 2014 to 2021 monotony it is nice to see something different. I hope Mercedes takes several years to get back to where they were.

  9. Of course

  10. Did we expect anything different? If George keeps outperforming him, Lewis may even go back to his “because I’m different” excuse he has used in the past.

    1. LH is getting to the stage of forgetting things. In one of the articles I read he mentioned that the RB car was really fast. He plumb forgot to mention that they also have the best driver. That’s why that driver was crowned world champion 2 years in a row.

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