Hamilton Credits Rainy Weather For His Success In China Sprint

Sunday, 21 April 2024 at 01:30
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The seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton suggested nothing has changed in the performance of his Mercedes despite Sprint Race result suggesting otherwise:
Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton achieved his best result of the 2024 season (so far) during the first sprint weekend at Shanghai International Circuit.
Though it doesn't count for as much as the Sunday Grand Prix race, the second place in the Sprint Shootout and consequent Sprint race will be a significant confidence boost for both Hamilton and Silver Arrows.
The 39-year-old's best result until the Chinese Grand Prix Sprint Race was P7 in Bahrain. Mercedes has been struggling with its car ever since the start of the season, and even though there were some positive signs in the sprint race, Hamilton suggests nothing has changed about the car.
The seven-time World Champion was asked during a media session after the sprint whether he sees the weekend as a genuine sign of progress since the last race in Japan, and he responded:

"I think it's over 90% due to the scenario, the rain yesterday, if I'm really honest. We've not made really a step from the last race, the car is exactly the same. And we're battling the same issues that we had in the last race. And I think position-wise, we are probably pace-wise in a similar position."

The rain-affected Sprint Shootout meant the fastest drivers were no longer only the ones with the fastest cars but mainly the ones who were able to make the most of incredibly difficult track conditions.
With P2, the Mercedes driver showed he still has the speed and the feeling for his car (amid many doubts from fans and F1 pundits over the recent weeks).
Although he felt there had been no progress since Japan, Hamilton was clearly faster than Fernando Alonso in the race pace, which wasn't necessarily the case at Suzuka.
Hamilton then had a big shocker in qualifying when he made a mistake on a final flying lap in Q1. This means he has to start the Sunday Grand Prix race from P18, and it remains to be seen how far up the order he can climb.