Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff agree as ‘atrocious’ Mercedes issue derails Japanese GP

Mercedes had yet another challenging day at Suzuka, with Lewis Hamilton finishing just ninth and George Russell just two places ahead at the Japanese Grand Prix.

At the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton bemoaned his “awful” hard tires after Mercedes’s calculated gamble on strategy failed.

At Suzuka, Hamilton finished a pitiful ninth, while George Russell did only marginally better, crossing the finish line in seventh place. When the race was stopped due to a collision between Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon on the first lap, Mercedes took a chance with the hard tires.

Charles Leclerc, who would later join his Ferrari team, was placed on the mediums and managed to fly while the British struggled. It was too late to reverse the tack that Hamilton insisted Mercedes change over the radio.

As they hobbled to the finish line, Ferrari secured the podium spot with Carlos Sainz trailing Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and race winner Max Verstappen, while Leclerc secured the fourth position. “There were two really terrible [sets of] hard tyres to run through,” Hamilton said following the race. Today was really difficult.

“I believe that when Charles came around the outside at the beginning, I took a little damage. During the first stint, I had severe understeer and was unable to turn the car. The medium tire performed significantly better than the hard one. Though the car wasn’t great today overall, we should have kept two medium tires in retrospect.

The early laps, in the opinion of team manager Toto Wolff, totally ruined his team’s hopes of earning significant points at Suzuka. He stated: “After a terrible first stint, we would have been racing for a podium, but the second and third stints were incredibly quick. We must ascertain what it was.”

Sainz was constantly chasing a third consecutive podium, starting the race fourth behind British rider Lando Norris. Despite his best efforts, Norris acknowledged after the race that his McLaren car just isn’t fast enough to compete with the Ferraris at this point.

“It was a difficult race—it’snotnice to start third and simply fall back,” he remarked. We gave it our best shot, but it’s difficult to fight on a track like this, so I was up against guys who can just do so much more.”

Thanks to a “perfect” race, Sainz was thrilled to win, and teammate Leclerc is optimistic that Ferrari can contend with Red Bull later in the season. However, he acknowledged that this appears “optimistic” at the moment, particularly considering Verstappen finished 20 seconds ahead of the Ferraris despite constantly changing his tires during the race.

With three victories out of the first four races in 2024, the reigning champion declared: “We’re having a great start to the year.” Even though there will be tracks that are more difficult for us, we’ll keep trying to learn more and improve our car, so I’m confident we can perform even better.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.