Saturday, May 18, 2024

Chinese GP: Mercedes confirm upgrades for Miami after disappointing race in Shanghai for Lewis Hamilton

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Mercedes have revealed they will bring upgrades to the next F1 race in Miami after an underwhelming Chinese Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton recovered to ninth place on Sunday after a disastrous Qualifying where he was knocked out in Q1 and started in 18th place after making a mistake by braking too late into the Turn 14 hairpin on his final flying lap.

As he was battling to move through the field, Hamilton voiced his frustrations on the radio about the pace of his car. At one point, the seven-time world champion claimed he could not catch Alpine’s Esteban Ocon for 13th place and the “car is so slow”.

“I think considering where we put the cars altogether, drivers and team, was not a good position for today. Not good enough overall,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

“Lacking pace. We have got to dig deep. We have got something coming for Miami that looks like a good step, let’s see where that brings us out.

“It’s not an OK car. We can see what the mistakes are on the car. We wanted to go a bit more aggressive to see if it was something so different we needed to do on that car and you can see Lewis today took it on him, that was maybe a step too far.

“The race car was not fast. You hear him [Hamilton] saying the car doesn’t turn and this is what we can see in the data. It wasn’t the right thing to do.”

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill discuss the problems at Mercedes and Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari next season

Hamilton: I didn’t expect a lot more

Hamilton is enduring his worst start ever to an F1 season since making his debut in 2007 with one seventh, two ninth-place finishes and a retirement from five Grand Prix.

His Sprint weekend in Shanghai started off well when he qualified second for the Sprint and finished in the same position in Saturday’s shortened race.

The 39-year-old finished nearly a minute behind race-winner Max Verstappen in the Grand Prix, even though there were two Safety Car interventions.

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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Toto Wolff react to a challenging Chinese Grand Prix

“I’m grateful to get into the points. I didn’t expect a lot more this weekend,” said Hamilton.

“Hopefully we have a step forward coming at the next race. Until then, we will be back at the factory next week and try and position the car better for Miami and have a better weekend.”

Hamilton revealed he went a different way with the set-up of the car compared to Mercedes team-mate George Russell, who finished sixth in the race.

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The best of the action from an eventful Chinese Grand Prix

Experimenting with the car has been a theme at Mercedes since the current ground-effect regulations were introduced in 2022.

“I think the car is a difficult car to set up and a difficult car to drive. That’s why you have these oscillations in performance,” explained Wolff.

“Where Lewis’ car was today, was far away from the optimum and he was just driving on a knife edge. This is where we are.”

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Hamilton was eliminated in Q1 at the Chinese Grand Prix

Russell: Mercedes need to keep adding performance on the car

Russell had the opposite weekend to Hamilton as he was eliminated in the second part of Sprint Qualifying and finished in eighth.

He got ahead of the Ferraris at the start of Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix but could not keep them behind and had to settle for sixth place.

“This weekend we know where we have fallen out. The last three races we were in the battle with Fernando [Alonso], [Oscar] Piastri as well and P6 is where we are right now.

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Ted Kravitz is in the paddock to review all the biggest stories from the Chinese Grand Prix

“It was an interesting weekend, managing to have two different set-ups on the car between Friday and Sunday, so some info to go through.

“Ultimately we need to dig into the data and keep on adding performance to the car. We just need to keep on working hard to try and close that gap to get more in the fight with Ferrari and Lando and try and close on the Red Bulls.”

Swap the early alarms for prime-time evening viewing as Formula 1 next makes its first of three visits to the USA in 2024, with the Miami GP on May 3-5. Steam every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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