Lewis Hamilton admits he “paid the price” for “bad” set-up choice

Lewis Hamilton says he made a mistake by choosing an aggressive set-up direction in China.

Lewis Hamilton had a difficult weekend in China
Lewis Hamilton had a difficult weekend in China

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he “paid the price” at the F1 Chinese Grand Prix for making a “bad set-up change” to his Mercedes car.

The seven-time world champion had an encouraging start to the weekend as he claimed his best result of the season by finishing second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Saturday morning’s sprint.

But just a few hours later Hamilton suffered a shock Q1 elimination and could only qualify 18th for Sunday’s grand prix, before recovering into the points in ninth.

Hamilton, who finished three places behind teammate George Russell, conceded that an aggressive set-up choice, made after the sprint, ultimately backfired.

“Ultimately, I made a bad set-up change to the car [on Saturday] and I paid the price for it. I plan to make sure I don’t do that in the future,” Hamilton said.

“I went forwards and got into the points, but it was a tough race. The car does seem to work in a small window, and I did think it was the correct thing to do.

“Sadly, it made [the grand prix] very difficult. The team did a great job with the pit stops though and George [Russell] did well to score some solid points.”

The level of understeer Hamilton experienced in the race led him to believe something on his car was broken.

"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," he explained.

"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."

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