Formula 1

‘Balance of the Car’ Responsible for Hamilton’s Shock Q1 Exit in Saudi Arabia

2 Mins read
Image: Jiri Krenek.

Lewis Hamilton surprised race fans around the world on Saturday, when the Briton was knocked out of the first qualifying stage in the dying moments of the session at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit – qualifying sixteenth on the grid. The 2021 runner up has claimed that the setup of the car “went the wrong way tonight” as Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team continue to struggle with their W13 car.

Hamilton, however, will start in fifteenth following the news that Mick Schumacher will not be competing in Sunday’s race.

Before analysing his qualifying performance, the seven-time world champion was quick to comment on the Qualifying 2 accident with Schumacher – “I hope Mick is OK, that corner is 170mph and it’s terrifying to see what’s happened – that’s the biggest crash we’ve seen at this track.”

“For me, I struggled with the balance of the car today, the rear end was snapping out and this isn’t where we want to be. We went the wrong way with the set up tonight and the car just wasn’t underneath me for this session,” Hamilton claims, after visibly struggling to keep the car stable during his onboard camera feeds.

“It’s strange because the car was feeling good in FP3 but in qualifying, it was difficult to drive all of a sudden and felt nervous. Everyone is working as hard as they can and trying to stay positive. I’ll try my best tomorrow and see what we can do.”

George Russell – “We don’t have a handle on the car at the moment”

Image: LAT Images.

George Russell, who barely made it into the third and final qualifying session will start Sunday’s race from sixth place on the grid.

“We are one team, and as a team it was not a good day. We don’t have a handle on the car at the moment, it’s been inconsistent and we’re fighting to get it into this very small window. On our side of the garage, we managed to get it just inside that window – I don’t really know why or how – and unfortunately on Lewis’s side they didn’t manage to,” the British driver explained, following his well-known, team-oriented style of interview.

“When that happens on a circuit like this on a knife-edge, you just don’t have the confidence to push it to the limit. As a team, we’re not here to fight for P5 / P6, we want more and we were nine tenths behind Checo today, so we’ve got work to do.”

Russell is confident that Mercedes will solve porpoising and the other issues that have been present for the Silver Arrows in the first two stages of the season, despite the set-back that was Hamilton’s Qualifying 1 exit – “We know what our issue is and everyone’s working day and night trying to solve it. We know there’s so much lap time on the table, we just can’t tap into it. We will get there, I’ve no doubt.”

“But we’ve got to be patient. We can be grateful that we’ve got such a serious issue, but we are still the third fastest team and that offers so much optimism. If we are still the third fastest and we have so many issues, when we solve them, we should be in a really good spot,” Russell concluded.

Sunday’s Saudi Arabian will be an interesting race for Mercedes, as we expect to see Hamilton fighting his way through the field, and Russell trying to close up to the Scuderia Ferrari and Orace Red Bull Racing drivers.

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Joe McCormick is a 20-year old Formula 1 journalist and writer from Devon, who loves everything F1!
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