Lewis Hamilton puts his recent struggles down to inconsistencies with the balance of his Mercedes after dropping out in Q2 for the second race in a row at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Las Vegas saw Hamilton failing to reach Q3 in qualifying and he looked to be off the pace of teammate George Russell for the majority of the weekend in Abu Dhabi before being eliminated in Q2 once again. Hamilton told his team over the radio that something was wrong with his car, and says he doesn’t have any confidence in how it will behave at each turn.
“It’s just very loose; the car’s unpredictable at every corner,” Hamilton said. “In one corner it’s one way, in another corner it’s another, and it’s not a consistent car or balance. No setup change I can make seems to get it right, and it’s a struggle just to get out of Q1.
“These last two races have been a disaster for me, particularly in qualifying. I’ve had two 11th places. It’s very rare, but it’s the last race, so…”
Hamilton revealed that his setup was the same as Russell’s and, with the other car qualifying on the second row, he believes something fundamental is wrong but is now focused on trying to hold off Ferrari for second place in the constructors’ standings.
“George managed to get the most out of the car today, finishing in P4,” he said. “It takes some good going for me to not make it into Q3 so we need to do a deep dive and try our best to move up tomorrow.
“The team here and back in the factory deserve a good result for the final race of the season, so we will work hard as always and hopefully it will pay off and we can find improvements ahead of tomorrow.”
Russell backed up Hamilton’s claims, as he doesn’t expect his teammate to be so far off his own pace.
“I think confidence is a huge thing, and if you start on the front foot you can just build from there,” Russell said. “I’m not too sure. There’s different theories week-in, week-out, but for sure Lewis isn’t a driver who is 0.4s off the pace this weekend, or whether it was last weekend, so something as a team we need to understand.”