Not Hamilton's Fault That Mercedes Car Is 'Too Tricky' Says Allison

Friday, 26 April 2024 at 07:30
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Mercedes's technical director, James Allison, proposed that Lewis Hamilton needn't apologize for an error in China, as it was just a consequence of the "car being too tricky."
The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix started well (P2 in the Sprint race) for the seven-time World Champion, but things turned sour very quickly when he was knocked out of Q1 in qualifying and had to start the race from P18.
Starting from P18 basically eliminated all of Hamilton's hopes and chances of better results than he had during the previous race weekends, and in the end, he finished in P9.
Speaking to his team on the radio after the race, Hamilton apologized to his team saying: "That was my bad. Thank you guys, and good job on the pit stops"
He also took the blame for the bad result this weekend when speaking to the media after the race. Apparently, it was the 39-year-old who wanted to go for a different setup, but it didn't pay off. James Allison said:

"He’d found that the changes he’d made had made the car more understeery, they’d made it easier for the car to lock up under the braking and he was just pinching those front brakes in a way that was causing him difficulties."

George Russell seems to have chosen a different setup that worked better, and Allison suggested the team should have convinced Hamilton to choose something very similar rather than experiment.

"So he would hold his hand up and say 'my mistake, my error.' I think we would be a little more rounded and say we should have actually encouraged more strongly that he was pursuing a programme a bit more like George's.

So that’s our mistake and we should frankly be making a car that is just not so tricky as the one we’ve got at the moment which is causing the drivers to make very uncharacteristic errors."

Hamilton is one of the most consistent drivers on the grid and doesn't tend to make this kind of mistake. Qualifying at Shanghai International Circuit was his worst since Jeddah 2022. Consequently, Allison believes there is instead a problem with the car than with the driver.

"We have two of the best drivers in the world and locking up at the end of a straight into a hairpin is not in Lewis’s recipe book and it’s a consequence of the car being too tricky."