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Hamilton's Q1 Exit More Than Just Settings 2024 Chinese f1

Hamilton’s Q1 Exit: More Than Just Settings

25/04/2024

Mercedes F1 clarifies that Lewis Hamilton’s Q1 exit in China wasn’t solely due to poor settings. Technical adjustments under the new rules proved costly, emphasizing the car’s sensitivity.

Mercedes F1 disputes the notion that Lewis Hamilton’s Q1 elimination in Shanghai was the team’s fault. Technical director James Allison explains that changing settings after the Sprint can be costly under the new 2024 regulations.

“This regulatory change, the two-parc fermé rule, allows us a new opportunity to adjust the car between the Sprint part of the weekend and the actual race weekend,” Allison explains.

“I mentioned that this is a very welcome regulatory change, but it’s also a double-edged sword. If you make the wrong choices between the Sprint part of the weekend and the main event, you can end up making the car slower and suffer as a result.”

“And although you have this opportunity to adjust the car, your first contact with the adjustments you have made is in qualifying, in Q1. If you have chosen poorly, you will suffer, and the first time you will know you are suffering is when it really counts.”

“He said he would have really liked to adopt the same approach as George, that is, during his first run in Q1, George loaded up for two timed laps so he could feel the car on the first fast lap, take a slow lap, and then go again, which would have allowed him to feel the car even more.”

“Whereas Lewis went later in the session with one timed lap, and he was very clear afterward that he needed another lap. He realized that the changes he had made had made the car more understeery, that they had made it easier to lock up the car under braking, which was causing him difficulties.”

“I think we all saw what happened during his second stint, which was only his second timed lap, on the main straight down to the hairpin, he got a bit unsettled under braking, and that’s 0.7 seconds gone. It’s a significant gap that could have easily seen him through to Q3.”

“It’s our fault.”

Allison acknowledges that the team bears some responsibility for choosing to do just one lap, as well as for allowing Hamilton to make his own adjustments. But above all, the engineer thinks his drivers need a more versatile car.

“So he raised his hand and said it was his fault. I think we should be a bit more honest and say that we should have encouraged him more strongly to follow a program closer to George’s.”

“So it’s our fault, and frankly, we should be building a car that isn’t as delicate as the one we have right now, which leads drivers to make very unusual mistakes.”

“We have two of the best drivers in the world, and locking up at the end of a straight into a hairpin isn’t in Lewis’s playbook, but it’s the consequence of a car that’s too delicate.”

Hamilton's Q1 Exit More Than Just Settings

Hamilton’s Q1 Exit: More Than Just Settings. Hamilton’s Q1 Exit: More Than Just Settings

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