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SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 20: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 20, 2024 in Shanghai, China.

Hamilton frustrated with worrying issue in Chinese Grand Prix

The seven-time world champion recovered to ninth after starting the race from 18th

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he’s “never had so much understeer in my life” during the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China.
Hamilton had to fight his way through slower cars (Image Credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Hamilton was faced with a tough task of performing a recovery drive. The Mercedes driver qualified in 18th and reached the chequered flag in ninth.

The 39-year-old had a great sprint qualifying and race, finishing second both times. However, he struggled during the main qualifying and race in dry conditions.

Hamilton started the race on the soft compound tyre. However, he was unable to make significant progress with the red-walled tyre – only rising up to 15th.

The Briton finished the race in ninth – unable to capitalise on McLaren driver Oscar Piastri’s damage to overtake the Australian for eighth.

Convinced something was broken

Hamilton emphasised that he had so much understeer throughout the first half of the race. It led to the Briton thinking that he suffered damage to his W15:

“I thought maybe at the beginning I tapped someone because I have never had so much understeer in my life, so I was turning in at slow speed and waiting, waiting, waiting.”

“So, I thought I had damaged something like some of the others because there was debris going everywhere at one point but it was just the set-up that I chose.

“With better decisions on set-up, maybe we would be around where George [Russell, who finished sixth] is but we just have to keep fighting.”

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China.
Hamilton did not enjoy his first stint on the soft compound (Image Credit: Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Upgrades needed desperately

Mercedes have planned upgrades arriving for the next race in Miami. Hamilton is hoping it will give the Silver Arrows a boost to be able to fight with Ferrari and McLaren.

“It definitely wasn’t better than expected. We expected to be somewhere around there,” the 39-year-old said to Sky Sports F1.

“Hopefully we have some step forward coming in next race. Until then, we’ll be back in a factory next week trying to position the car better for Miami and hopefully we have a better weekend.”

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell ended the race in sixth behind both Ferrari drivers. The seven-time world champion believes that his teammate achieved the best possible result in the current circumstances.

“This weekend, we know where we’re falling out. The last three races we were kind of in the battle with Fernando and [Oscar] Piastri as well. P6 is where we are right now.

“It was an interesting weekend managing to have two different set-ups on the car between Friday and Sunday. So, some info to go through but ultimately we just need to dig into the data and just keep on adding performance to the car.”

Feature Image Credit: Fred Lee via Getty Images

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