Lewis Hamilton lost out after massive set-up changes in F1 Chinese GP, as George Russell did the maximum he could he feels.

Having led the sprint race in F1 Chinese GP, Mercedes’ Hamilton had a dire qualifying to be knocked out in Q1. He noted of massive set-up change which went in the wrong direction for the Brit and he paid the price for it eventually.

In the race on Sunday, even though he managed to climb back up in the Top 10 to be ninth, it was far from being an ideal result. Hamilton termed it as the worst of the lot in 2024, as he had understeer all-through and suffered to get the right amount of balance.

The soft tyre start wasn’t ideal as well, while Russell was seemingly content with sixth after gaining as much he could. But interestingly, he noted that the set-up between him and Hamilton is not hugely different when asked about his teammate’s struggles.

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said they maxed out the car’s performance in China, as that was the best they could have end, certainly on the side of Russell. For Hamilton, he felt the difficulty in understanding the car left him with not an ideal set-up.

What happened –

Hamilton: “It definitely wasn’t better than expected. We expected to be somewhere around there. 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.”

Tyre pressure, soft tyre start –

Hamilton: “One of it was that the tyre pressure was so high. It was the worst I think that we have had. I was the only on the soft and it fell apart after Lap 1. It was very difficult. It was the worst race so far, but we had a second obviously in the sprint, and with some better decisions with set-up, I would be around where George was, but we just have to keep fighting.”

Top 6 the best –

Russell: “This weekend, we know where we’re falling out. The last three races we were kind of in the battle with Fernando and 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.”

Set-up difference –

Russell: “We’re pretty similar on the setups, we both went in a similar direction, but there’s a small difference. Directionally very, very similar between the two of us but we both made big changes from the sprint race. If we optimised everything this weekend, maybe we would have finished P3, P4, P5 in qualifying. But we still wouldn’t be content with that. We want to fight for victories and championships in hopefully the minimum next year. Sometimes need to sacrifice in the short term to make some greater gains down the line. We are still trying to find the development path we need to be on to make some big steps. That’s just where we are at the moment.”

Weekend on the whole –

Wolff: “I think what you’ve seen with P6 and P9 is not satisfying, but it is because we are trying to manage our expectations, knowing that the car is full of surprises, but it was in a good place on Saturday. Much better, we were able to, apart from Merry-Max, be there, benefiting of course of the battle behind us And it shows that when you are able to run more in clean air, when you are in the front, the performance is better, but it’s probably with P6, we’ve maximised what the potential of the car was, and that’s just not good enough and we all know that.”

Hamilton’s situation –

Wolff: “I think the car is a difficult car, a difficult car to set-up and a difficult car to drive And that’s why you have these oscillations in performances, in my opinion. And I think where Lewis’ car was, it was certainly far away from the optimum and it’s just driving on the knife’s edge. So, this is where we are. And let’s say for Miami, we are bringing some new bits, which are interesting to see how they are going to perform in the car.”

Here’s how F1 Chinese GP panned out

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