“S*** happens” — Hamilton left to rue set-up change ahead of qualifying for F1 Chinese GP as he starts P18

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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Lewis Hamilton had a very topsy-turvy Saturday in Shanghai.

After finishing an excellent 2nd in the Sprint to Max Verstappen, the Brit was eliminated in Q1 as a mistake on his final lap cost him dearly.

The seven-time World Champion had been a tenth up on teammate George Russell after the first 2 sectors, but he locked up heading into turn 14 at the end of the long back straight and lost over half a second.

Instead of comfortably booking his place in Q2 like his younger teammate, Hamilton ended up in P18. Russell starts today’s race in P8.

He explained how the tailwind caught him out.

“I couldn’t make it round 14. I lost it all in 14. There’s a tailwind there.”

Hamilton explained that it was his own performance to blame for his Q1 exit after getting a question about Nico Rosberg’s comments.

The German and 2016 World Champion had said on Sky, “That is painful. That is seriously painful. In 18th position. Honestly, you know that the wind is coming from the back there. He’s had a great lap until then.

“It was really unnecessary to push the limit there so much. As a seven-time World Champion, that’s a mistake that probably should be avoidable.”

Hamilton’s reply was: “I don’t blame anything on the team. They were not my my best qualifying laps.”

With Parc Fermé opened up post-sprint ahead of normal qualifying, Hamilton said Mercedes made massive changes to his car ahead of it, with George Russell heading in an opposite direction.

While the car was not too bad according to the older Brit, he could not get it stopped as he would have liked.

“Yeah, basically we made massive changes going into qualifying. We just wanted to experiment, so George decided to go one way, much different to what he had.

“We were both pretty much the same before, and then I went this other direction just to see if we could find something.

“It didn’t feel terrible, it’s just that I couldn’t stop the car.“I went that way, and then […] I don’t know. I don’t know if it was the right one.”

Hamilton has not won a Grand Prix since the 2021 Saudi Arabian event. A victory seems extremely unlikely this season unless Mercedes brings updates that suddenly transforms the W15.

Nonetheless, the 103-time Grand Prix winner is keeping his head up and is determined to come through the pack later today to score some points.

The wild variance in the performance of the car is not something that will drag him down mentally.

“No [it’s not a mind****], I am strong mentally. I’m very strong mentally, it’s not an issue. It’s not great.

“No, it’s not a mind**** at all. S*** happens, you know. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t.

“This car is on a knife-edge, as we know, so it can easily do what we’ve had.“I’ll have some fun from there. I’ll come back.”