Hamilton Describes Reason For Poor Performance During Chinese Grand Prix

Monday, 22 April 2024 at 20:00
Updated at Monday, 22 April 2024 at 23:53
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Lewis Hamilton, who started the race around the Shanghai International Circuit from P18, clearly struggled during the race, and he explained his problem to the media afterward.
As it stands, the F1 grid is split into two parts: the top five teams and the bottom five teams. The top five are on different level performance-wise.
If all drivers from the top five teams finish the race, there is typically no chance for anyone from the bottom five to score points. Such is the difference in the performance of their cars.
Starting the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix from P18, Hamilton should have easily made his way through the slower traffic and at least had an enjoyable race in which he would move only forward, but he struggled much more than he would have liked.
Speaking to the media after the race, the seven-time World Champion said he didn't enjoy the race due to all his struggles. As to what went wrong, he said:

"I thought maybe at the beginning I tapped someone because I have never had so much understeer in my life, so I was turning in at slow speed and waiting, waiting, waiting."

Interestingly, the Mercedes driver described the exact same problem that he had in a previous race in Japan. His team is apparently experimenting with different setups, but the result was the same even in China. Hamilton continued:

"So, I thought I had damaged something like some of the others because there was debris going everywhere at one point but it was just the set-up that I chose."

Despite all the setbacks, the British driver managed to cross the finish line in P9, which isn't too far from where he could finish, even if everything went right.

"With better decisions on set-up, maybe we would be around where George [Russell, who finished sixth] is, but we just have to keep fighting."

One of the underlying issues for Hamilton's struggles was apparently the choice of soft compound tires for the start of the race.
The 39-year-old could be heard on the team radio complaining about the tires throughout the first stint. Concerning the strategic choice to begin on softs, Hamilton added:

"Oh my god, I was the only one, I think, on the soft and it fell apart after lap one. It was very difficult."