Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2023

Hamilton rues set-up choice in “the hardest car I’ve driven to get right”

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton regretted a set up change he made on his Mercedes after qualifying fifth for the Singapore Grand Prix.

His teammate George Russell will start tomorrow’s race from the front row alongside pole winner Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“I’m really happy for George,” Hamilton told media including RaceFans. “I think he did a mega job. He’s just been connected with the car all weekend. It started good for us yesterday and it was not so good today.”

Hamilton admitted he’d “made a set-up change last night and it didn’t work” after qualifying over four tenths of a second slower than Russell. “It is the hardest car that I’ve ever driven to get right,” he added.

With both Red Bull drivers failing to make the cut for Q3, Mercedes and their rivals have a chance to score their first victory of 2023. Hamilton is hoping his team mate can do it.

“I think George has a really good shot at potentially winning,” he said. “I really hope that he does, hope he gets a great start and gets ahead of the Ferraris, that would be amazing for the team and for him.

“For me it’s just I’ll see what I can do. If I can get further up, then great. The car was good yesterday on the long run but I changed the car overnight and now I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow with the car.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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  • 23 comments on “Hamilton rues set-up choice in “the hardest car I’ve driven to get right””

    1. Hamilton is going for whinger of the year again. Get on with it and stop moaning please.

      1. The disconnect between what Hamilton said and what you think he said is truly staggering.

        1. I second that. That level of disconnect can only be attributed to some sort of mental illness.

      2. I trust you have the same opinion when it comes to verstappen and perez, neither of whom were happy?

      3. i guess Max just broke the f-world record in any single session this year. but dont let reality interfere with your bias.

    2. Not a great weekend for Hamilton to lose the plot with the setup. Possibly the one chance for a win this season and, like last season, could well be Russell who grabs it.

      1. As per Hamilton’s comments earlier this year, Russell may get the setup wrong nine times out of ten – but he has a knack of getting it right when it counts.

        1. @red-andy True. Unfortunate for Hamilton but good for Mercedes that their junior driver can compete seriously and also offers something different.

          1. I wonder how much of it is him trying to strike gold in a non title challenging season

            Pace is one thing but if it’s genuinely down to setup maybe he’s trying to hard to get a freak perfect on

            George is fast though so not to downplay him but it would be interesting to note how often this happened when rosberg and bottas were his team mate.

            It would also be interesting to note how often it happens to either driver depending on when they are at a track that seems likely to favour their car or not.

            I don’t know the answer to either of these but the main reason I wonder is due to how often last season (especially earlier on) Lewis was experimenting with setup

            But also how often either Mercedes driver being off on a given weekend seems to at least by them be attributed to poor set up

            Then again maybe I’m just overthinking it and it’s actually just like Lewis was saying, that this car is hard to get right..

            Then again going by their comments over the years it seems as though nearly every car the make is a diva that they get used to over a season untill they often end up with a great grasp on what makes it tick in the last third of the way through.

            1. It’s a difficult one to read. Hamilton had adapted better to the new version of the W14 and the new nose. The past two race weekends seem to have swung back to Russell though. That’s kind of ‘new’ in that Hamilton tends to improve over a season, as he did last, and end up the faster driver in the team. I mean he could and probably will still do so. But I think it shows just how competitive Russell is in all (good) senses. It may also suggest that Hamilton is still in the ‘trying to improve the car’ mode with which he started 2022 and 2023, looking ahead to 2024 already, rather than maximizing the race results. I expect he’ll have a decent race.

            2. Makes sense. He normally does better in races these days other than getting stuck behind people at times

    3. yay, another race where Lewis has to try something desperate to pick up a few positions. Great for the cameras I guess.

    4. He’ll be fine, Ferrari won’t be able to make the tyre last and Russell has a qualifying setup, Norris could win this.

    5. Just imagine if’s it’s Max who lost quali to his team mate by almost 0.5s. He would’ve been lambasted by fans and the media, but when it’s happening on constant basis to Hamilton it’s “well, life is like that, one of those things”.

      Hamilton should focus solely on racing and his speed, rather than undermining and attacking Max/Red Bull, when he’s just insanely jelaous of their success! Do you want to prove critics wrong? Do it on the actual track and stopwatch!

      1. You and your distorted reality… Merc are a 2 driver team (like most in F1 and different to RBR). Its quite common with 2 top drivers, and a team treating them equally, that one race one is better, and its the other one the next race.

        BTW: minor rectification of your distored view on reality – Hamiltons grid positions are slightly better than Russells throughout the season.

        1. Max, I thought that after today, Russell is one ahead in the qualifying head-to-head with Hamilton, but Hamilton is obviously further ahead in WDC points. I was just trying to remember who Hamilton’s team mates have been in his F1 career. Alonso (former WDC), the Finnish guy for one year who’s name escapes me, Button (former WDC), Rosberg (won a WDC), Bottas (pretty solid journeyman) and now Russel, who has the advantage of youth. It has all certainly made for some good intra-team competition.

          1. ah, maybe. in terms of avg grid position Ham should be slightly in front.

      2. Constant basis? Is this the what 3rd session you’ve watched this season ???

      3. I’m sure he would love to just focus on racing, but whenever he gets out of the car people stick microphones under his nose and he is expected to say something. Contract thing.

    6. It will be interesting to see what happens in the race. Ferrari seem quick so far, but Mclaren seem to be ready to step up and both Mercedes drivers apparently have an extra set of medium tyres, which may give them an advantage. With RB having issues, likely to be even worse with full tanks, they can probably forget podiums this week.

      Prediction: Russell, Norris, Hamilton, Sainz in that order.

    7. The car is bad, we know, but drive it

      1. melanos,

        That does indeed appear to be a rough summary of what he said.

    Comments are closed.