Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton concerned by Mercedes’ inconsistent performance before retirement

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamiltonsays his Mercedes performed completely differently at Albert Park compared to earlier rounds in Bahrain and Jeddah before he was forced out of the race.

The Mercedes driver became the second retirement from the race after his power unit suddenly cut out along Lakeside Drive on lap 16.

He had been the highest-starting driver on soft tyres in 11th, picking up two places to run ninth before pitting for hard rubber. He was lying in 11th place before his power unit failed without warning.

“I didn’t feel it [going] – it just went in one go,” he told the official F1 channel. “I didn’t feel it coming.”

Hamilton’s retirement capped off a frustrating weekend for him at Albert Park. He failed to reach Q3 on Saturday after appearing to struggle for pace relative to team mate George Russell, who was quicker than him in every timed session except third practice.

Asked if he had learned anything about his car over his 15 racing laps before retirement to help explain the difficulties he had with his car over the weekend, Hamilton said he had learned “nothing more than I’ve noticed before.” Concerningly for Mercedes, Hamilton said the car’s performance was entirely inconsistent with how they had run in previous rounds.

“We didn’t look terrible in the high-speed [corners], but we’re slow in the low speed this weekend,” he continued. “Whereas in the past race we were bad in the high-speed and good in the low. So a real struggle this weekend.”

His failure to finish leaves him ninth in the championship on just eight points, ten behind his ninth-placed Russell, who retired after a heavy crash on the penultimate lap. Hamilton says he rues not having the opportunity to score points.

“It’s definitely frustrating because it was so early in the race I was hoping to be able to progress forwards and was on a different strategy to everyone. But these things happen.”

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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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12 comments on “Hamilton concerned by Mercedes’ inconsistent performance before retirement”

  1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    24th March 2024, 10:04

    Not a great start for Mercedes, with the potential for two PU’s to have been lost this weekend. Hamilton’s cut out sounded very abrupt, and Russel will surely have damaged something with that crash.

    If Hamiltons head has gone for the season and Russel’s inconsistency returns then it could be a limp old battle for 4th for Merc.

  2. Right now Mercedes are sitting pretty at 5th in the championship as they simply expect Russell to bring home the points. Whatever beef they have with Hamilton should be set to one side. They need every point they can get.

    1. Whatever beef they have with Hamilton should be set to one side. They need every point they can get.

      Why do so many people think that because Hamilton is leaving at the end of the season, that there is a bad atmosphere between them? These people are running multimillion dollar businesses. I doubt any F1 team would be that childish.

  3. Once again, Hamilton seems to have made an excellent career choice. It appears that Ferrari are getting their act together, while Mercedes are merely a shadow of their former self in the hybrid era. Verstappen needs to think twice before making any silly decision because of his conflict with Horner.

    1. I mean, verstappen could probably replace leclerc at ferrari if he wanted. Depends how loyal ferrari is.

    2. Yes, interesting to see whether Lewis can pull it off again, going to the right team at the right moment. A quality in itself or luck?.. I guess irrelevant.

  4. he needs to realize its just his car that sucks, and that mercedes are keeping russell in front of him, by stealing his strategy, confusing his setups, making him a parts tester, and giving him poorly maintained equipment.

    , his teammate has enough power to overtake down the straight, he does not, almost ever. its obvious his team is deprioritizing him.

    1. I assume your comment is meant to be ironic…

  5. I’m pretty sure everyone there already know this car is a piece of crap. It’s just too early too admit it in public.
    The only race Russell looked half decent was the first, in which he couldn’t fend off Leclerc nursing issues on his car.

    The rest was low top 10 material and far, far away from Ferrari and Mclaren.

  6. I want to highlight that when Hamilton’s car failed, he coasted it to a safe place to pull off so that only a virtual safety car was needed, it was resolved very quickly, and we didn’t have the usual race-ruining safety car lottery. Whether that was Hamilton using his head, his engineer being on the ball and guiding him to the nearest pull off point, or the circuit designers who put thought into allowing for this, I cannot say, but whoever it was, they deserve credit for a well-handled retirement. Equally, I was pleased to see Verstappen get his car back to the pits without incident. So often we here engineers telling drivers to stop the car immediately (to save the engine), and drivers parking up in places where a full safety car is inevitable.

    1. Absolutely, it’s a big contrast to some retirements last year. There are a lot of gaps in the fencing, and drivers should have a pretty good excuse not to park near one.

  7. isthatglock21
    24th March 2024, 23:32

    Hamilton’s issue is that he cares too much. If I was him I’d be looking to have max fun & putting myself first just to beat my teammate. Forget the experiments & understanding the problems, it’s not your problem anymore lad. You handed in your notice.

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