F1 »

Hamilton: McLaren lacking grip 'everywhere'

Defending Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has conceded that there is 'no quick fix' to McLaren-Mercedes' aerodynamic struggles in the top flight this year after lapping well down the order in practice for the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend – confessing that his car lacks grip 'everywhere'.

Hamilton wound up a lowly and entirely unaccustomed 18th on the timesheets at the close of Friday proceedings – having placed a 'high' of 16th in the morning – almost two full seconds away from the leading pace, and around a circuit where only twelve months ago he led from virtually lights to chequered flag. He is well aware that a similar result this time around is little more than fantasy.

Whilst acknowledging that the MP4-24 has 'a good Mercedes-Benz engine' in the back of it – contributing to excellent straight-line speed – the 24-year-old revealed that cornering was rather more of an issue, as both he and similarly afflicted team-mate Heikki Kovalainen scrabble desperately around for grip Down Under. He is confident, however, that progress will be made.

“It's great to be back,” the British star enthused of the return to competition after the long winter break. “Obviously we are not as quick as we would love to be, but we are working very hard and we got though quite a good programme and made some decent steps for us at least.

“We didn't try any new bits; we had everything we needed on, but I am sure over the course of the first few races that there will be some new bits coming. I don't really know what everyone else is doing on the track, but I am happy with what we have done today.

“In general it is a good car; it is just a general lack of grip everywhere, pretty much. It is not particularly one area of the track – it is everywhere. We cannot carry the speed through the corners that we would like. It is predominantly aero, but we are working very hard.

“We have made some steps forward with it and for sure the gap to the others is nowhere near as big as it was back in Barcelona, but we have still got a long way to go. The guys back at the factory are working very hard to rectify that. There is no quick fix. It is going to take some time.”

Hamilton came in for a good degree of criticism in 2008 for his driving when battling in the middle of the order – particularly in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, when he had to fight his way through from just 15th position on the grid after a topsy-turvy qualifying session. He is adamant, however, that he has no qualms about racing in the midfield – even if he does not plan on making a habit out of it.

“I think it's tough for anyone,” the nine-time grand prix-winner mused, “but we've got a lot of experience as a team. Personally I've got a lot of experience of running at the back in other categories, so it's not completely new to me. We have had some races where I have been a bit further back.

“For sure we're not in the place where we would rather be, but we're working extremely hard – as hard as we can – and it's actually a good opportunity for us to try and turn it around. We've got a steep, very tough challenge ahead of us but if anyone can do it, I believe my team can. We've just got to remain positive and keep pushing.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Japanese F1, Fuji, 10th-12th, October, 2008
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


John Mclendon - Unregistered

March 27, 2009 4:24 PM

Wake up call. Last year, when Hamilton said he saw himself breaking Schumacher's record and win 9 Championships I wondered if he was really that naive. The days of cruising around the on the fastest car of the grid and collecting medals are over. It is time to pick up the pieces and push the team forward and make the best out of what you have. Can't afford bone head moves or brain farts anymore. Hamilton's real Rookie season starts this weekend.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.