Hamilton: I “sacrificed more than I hoped to” with set-up change after qualifying 9th for F1 Bahrain GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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The lights illuminated the Bahrain International Circuit for the first qualifying session of the 2024 Formula One season and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton made it to Q3, finishing in a disappointing 9th place.

With a different leader for each of the weekend’s practice sessions: Daniel Ricciardo for FP1, Lewis Hamilton in FP2 and earlier today Carlos Sainz for FP3, the top qualifying spot was anyone’s to grab. However, when it came to qualifying, Lewis Hamilton found himself struggling with set-up issues that threw a spanner in the works. 

Despite his earlier display of pace during practice where he was clearly the lead Mercedes, he confessed, “It was not the greatest of feelings” to finish ninth in qualifying and that he “struggled” within the session.

Yet, amidst the disappointment, Hamilton remained in good spirits, expressing his gratitude to be back on the grid: “I was generally really excited and I’m excited to be here and grateful to be here.”

He also praised his teammate George Russell’s performance, which showcased the team’s hard work over the winter break: “I think George’s position and the pace that George showed today really highlights and is a real testament to the team”

Despite Hamilton’s shock decision to move to Ferrari in 2025, he noted how important it is for the team to have a car that they can utilise to fight for pole positions, podiums, and race wins: “It’s amazing for us to have a car we can fight with. It really just ignites the fire and the flame within us drivers.”

Reflecting on his set-up choices, Hamilton admitted to choosing a different path from Russell, a decision that may have cost him on single-lap pace. 

“Yesterday was really good, George and I were on the same set-ups and then, he went left, and I went right.

“I think right was definitely not good for a single lap” he remarked, hinting at the challenges he faced during the session. However, Hamilton remained optimistic about his prospects for the race, emphasising his comfort with a heavier fuel load and expressing hope for a strong showing on race day.

“I definitely sacrificed, more than I hoped to, and I hope that it pays off tomorrow, but we’ll see, it’s a lot of work to do to get past all those quick cars ahead of me, but it’ll be fun.”