Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 misery stopped from getting worse by just one thing

Mercedes struggled during the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton finishing just eighth. Team manager Toto Wolff later described the weekend as the team’s worst-ever Formula One race weekend.

In the Brazilian Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda insisted that there was a “high chance” he would have passed Lewis Hamilton if the latter had not experienced a clutch issue.

Despite having a far lower starting position, the Japanese racer managed to finish ninth. For AlphaTauri, who had been climbing the standings for the majority of the season and are currently in eighth place and looking for more, it was another fantastic result.

But Tsunoda was not entirely satisfied with his day’s work. He had to manage technical issues on board his car during the latter stages of the race which later turned out to be a problem with his clutch that was affecting gear changes.

And he was confident that he would have been able to get past Hamilton, who finished one place ahead, had he not had that issue to contend with. “I don’t know about Pierre [Gasly, who finished seventh], but Lewis, quite a high chance,” he said.

The 23-year-old added: “Definitely, I could have done more. Sorry for the team. In the end I [wasn’t] able to push to the maximum for several reasons. P15 to P9 is still good. Well done to the team.”

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was not able to add to AlphaTauri’s points tally. He suffered damage in the first-corner melee after a tyre flew off another car and smashed into his rear wing, which the team was able to fix during a red flag delay to get him back out on track.

However, race control informed him and fellow Australian Oscar Piastri—who had also sustained damage—that they were already a lap behind and would not be earning any more points. And when Ricciardo addressed reporters afterward, he was not at all pleased with it.

The 34-year-old claimed, “I didn’t feel like we did a racing lap and then we started the race a lap down, so it exposed a flaw or something in the rules.” Oscar and I were thus taken advantage of.

“Alright, so it was just the two of us today, but are they going to start the race with 15 cars a lap down if 15 cars had damage and needed to be repaired like we did? In my opinion, no. They should, in my opinion, be a little more accepting. That was really, really irritating.”

If not, he believed that he would have also been headed toward another goal for the team. “We were exceptionally fast today,” Ricciardo continued. We were a lap down and had to play the team game, of course, and not interfere with Yuki’s race or even other cars around us, so we couldn’t always show it. However, when we did have some space, particularly in the direction of the end there were a couple of laps where I was able to show them my speed. Frustratingly fast.”

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