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Hamilton's Worst Season Start Ever

Hamilton’s Worst Season Start Ever

24/03/2024

Lewis Hamilton’s unexpected exit mirrors Max Verstappen’s in a dramatic Australian Grand Prix, marking a challenging weekend for Mercedes F1.

Lewis Hamilton joined Max Verstappen in the list of retirements during the Australian Grand Prix. The Mercedes F1 driver experienced a challenging weekend, describing his Friday as “one of the worst” in his career before failing to make Q3 in yesterday’s qualifying at Albert Park.

Mercedes F1 opted to start Hamilton on soft tires, offering a strategic differential compared to those around him, but it was impossible to tell if it would have worked as he retired on lap 16 due to a clean engine failure.

Hamilton slowed down on the straight from turn 8 towards the fast chicane at 9-10, coming to a stop on the side of the race track shortly after – the seven-time world champion triggering a brief virtual safety car period.

“I didn’t see it coming, it just died suddenly,” Hamilton revealed. “It’s frustrating, especially so early in the race, as I was hoping to make progress. I was on a different strategy, but these things happen.”

Mercedes lacked performance throughout the weekend, but Hamilton reveals it wasn’t much different from previous weekends. However, the team struggled to understand why it wasn’t displaying its usual characteristics.

“Nothing more than we’ve had before. We had difficulties… it wasn’t horrible in the fast corners but it was in the slow ones, whereas in the last races, we were slow in the fast corners and fast in the slow ones, so it was very tough this weekend.”

“It’s tough on morale”

Hamilton refuses to let his emotions dictate his reactions, remaining measured about Mercedes’ difficulties. According to him, even though adjusting to lower expectations is hard, the team has no issue giving it their all.

“I think it’s tough on morale. I think for everyone in the team, when there’s so much work over the winter for everyone, you arrive excited, motivated, and inspiring, and you’re in the mindset that you’re going to fight for wins.”

“And then, obviously, that’s not the case. You then think ‘okay, maybe second or third’. And then that’s not the case, and it takes you even further down. But I continue to be inspired by the people I work with. They keep pushing and that’s the most important thing.”

“I think it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and focus on one thing, but the bigger picture is definitely the priority right now, and also realizing that we can’t control everything.”

“You feel frustrated because you’re not in control, but you can let go and live in the moment, and that’s really… It’s not great, I’m not happy, but I’m going to have a good day tomorrow.”

“The worst start to a season” in his career

“This is the worst start to a season I’ve ever had,” Hamilton stated, even compared to the previous two seasons. “Oh yes, it’s worse… and it’s even worse than the start of the 2009 season.”

But the Brit remains philosophical about his struggles, putting things into perspective: “Surprisingly, I feel quite good. I’m trying to keep things in perspective, you know, it could be much worse.”

“I’m very grateful. I really enjoyed my time in Australia, I still love working with the team. Of course, I’d like to be fighting for wins and finishing races.”

“It’s never a great feeling when you come from so far and you don’t even see half the race, but what I know is that we will bounce back, we’ll eventually get there, we just have to keep pushing.”

Hamilton’s Worst Season Start Ever. Hamilton’s Worst Season Start Ever

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