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Mercedes F1 Unravels Hamilton's Q3 Setback in Miami

Mercedes F1 Unravels Hamilton’s Q3 Setback in Miami

09/05/2024

Mercedes F1 reveals a sudden gust of wind impacted Lewis Hamilton’s performance, causing a disappointing Q3 after a promising Q2 in Miami.

Mercedes F1 has pinpointed what cost Lewis Hamilton a strong qualifying position last weekend in Miami. Track Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin revealed that the British driver experienced a gust of wind, which spoiled his lap and led to a ninth-place qualification, despite having the fastest time in Q2.

“We were very pleased with the time he managed in Q2 and were hoping to repeat that in Q3,” explained Shovlin. “It wasn’t really an issue of grip initially, and the start of the lap was actually quite good.”

“He was unlucky because, as he approached turn 11, he encountered a tailwind. This significantly reduced the car’s downforce. Entering the turn, he therefore experienced severe oversteer. This increased the tire temperature.”

“Once the temperature rises, it’s a very tight and twisty section, and there’s no way for them to cool down, which causes the loss of grip. So, if it hadn’t been for that gust, the lap would have been better, for sure.”

The tire strategy also proved costly for Hamilton: “The other thing that cost us was that we only had one new set of soft tires at that point, so he couldn’t go out and try to do the same again.”

“It’s frustrating because at that time, the car was working well for him. He was clearly driving it very well, and it’s a shame we couldn’t replicate that lap when it mattered.”

Surprisingly, Mercedes chose to use medium tires to complete Q3, and Shovlin explains that this decision was made due to the lack of soft tires, but also because the medium looked promising the day before.

“We took a look during the first day; we did a lap with the soft tires, which is not unusual. But what was a bit different is that in Q1, we decided to use two new sets of tires, so we did three runs with both drivers, one used and two new.”

“That was partly because we had difficulties the previous day during the sprint qualifying. We wanted to ensure that the drivers had time to understand what the car was doing, but that made us lose one set compared to others. By the time we got to Q3, we only had one set left.”

“We did a run with the medium tire in Q3. We had seen it was quite competitive the day before. We didn’t think it was faster, but for Lewis, actually, because the first lap had gone so badly with the gust of wind, that medium tire was actually the one with which he qualified.”

“We used it because we didn’t see a significant drop in performance per lap, so we weren’t too worried about having that lap on the tire for Sunday’s race.”

Mercedes F1 Unravels Hamilton's Q3 Setback in Miami

Mercedes F1 Unravels Hamilton’s Q3 Setback in Miami. Mercedes F1 Unravels Hamilton’s Q3 Setback in Miami

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