Lewis Hamilton 'couldn't turn' his car as Mercedes star opens up on 'pretty bad' Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton 'couldn't turn' his car as Mercedes star opens up on 'pretty bad' Japanese Grand Prix

WATCH NOW: Lewis Hamilton and his dog as F1 season continues in Japan

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 07/04/2024

- 09:40

The seven-time world champion was unable to build on a positive qualifying session

Lewis Hamilton says he sustained early damage in the Japanese Grand Prix which caused him to struggle steering his Mercedes.

The Brit was at his happiest this season in qualifying but cut a frustrated figure after finishing ninth in Suzuka on Sunday.

Hamilton exited the last race in Australia early due to engine failure after finishing seventh and ninth in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia respectively.

He qualified seventh in Japan and was upbeat about the Silver Arrows' chances of major improvement on race day.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has opened up on Mercedes' struggles in the Japanese Grand Prix

Sky Sports

It wasn't to be though as Hamilton was well off the pace, while team-mate George Russell finished seventh after overtaking Oscar Piastri late on.

Hamilton revealed afterwards that he had contact with Charles Leclerc early on, which saw him let Russell pass by.

He told Sky Sports: "I think I picked up a bit of damage at the beginning with Charles, he came around the outside.

"I had huge understeer for the first stint. I couldn’t turn the car through any of the corners. That’s why I let George by."

A disappointed Hamilton initially said he didn't think there was anything else Mercedes could do to have had a better outcome on Sunday.

But he admitted that, in hindsight, a different approach to the tyre strategy from the team would have helped.

The 39-year-old said: "Nothing I don't think. I don't know what the different strategy would have been.

"Whether we stayed on the medium to start with but we still had two really terrible hard tyres to run through. A real challenge today.

"The hard tyre was pretty bad, as I said. The medium tyre was much better.

"So yeah for sure, in hindsight it looks like we should have had two medium tyres. But in general, the car was pretty bad today."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted it was a tough weekend for his two drivers.

However, he is adamant that things will improve in the coming weeks.


Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton finished ninth at the Japanese Grand Prix


Wolff said: "I think it was just very difficult. We had a second and third stint that was super quick and we would have been racing for a podium, but an atrocious first stint.

"We need to find out what it was. Was it too hot? Were we over-managing?"

"I think it's much better than it looked at the final result and qualifying.

"There's lots that we've learned and it's going to get better from here.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton was downbeat after a disappointing Japanese Grand Prix


"We need to be quick on all circuits. There's no excuse on temperatures or track layouts.

"We've just got to sort it out and that's why I say it's life testing for us.

"We've changed things massively. It isn't reflected in the result but I think the car is becoming quicker."

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