Leclerc F1 clash damage derailed Eastern GP hopes, says Hamilton

The Mercedes driver had long gone into the Suzuka stride hopeful that the team would possibly perchance fabricate on some promising likely shown in be aware with a new self-discipline-up course for the W15.

But he was as soon as save on the serve foot practically without delay from the restart of the crimson-flagged stride after a minor clash with Charles Leclerc within the opening sequence of corners left him with automobile damage.

That intended he suffered from low understeer, and explained why he was as soon as so chuffed to transfer over for team-mate George Russell, who had closed in on him within the first stint, about a laps later.

Talking to F1 about whether the automobile had no longer delivered what had hoped for within the stride, Hamilton acknowledged: “I mean, the automobile is by no manner what I would [have] hoped it’d be. Or no longer it is by no manner what we’d hoped it’d be.

“I got some damage within the first stint within the restart with Charles, and I had broad understeer, fancy broad, broad understeer. So as that’s why I made up my mind to let George by, because he gave the impact faster.

“I genuine would possibly perchance no longer flip the automobile, and it took us two stints to eventually dial an increasing number of flit in to win up for that loss. Last stint I was as soon as better, but it unquestionably was as soon as too unhurried. I had 10 seconds to win.”

Whereas Hamilton had been vastly encouraged by a new chanced on self belief within the W15 that Mercedes’ new self-discipline-up course had given it, he was as soon as obvious that he was as soon as no longer leaving Japan feeling too upbeat about things.

“I do no longer know if you occur to can remove many positives from the weekend,” he acknowledged.

“I mean the automobile has done which is apt. But we’re fancy you know seventh, Eighth, 9th fastest…”

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin acknowledged the squad’s weekend had successfully been wrecked by its uncomfortable qualifying performance, where neither driver had been in a jam to extract as a lot from their automobile as they would have most accepted.

“We weren’t rapid enough in qualifying so had been starting too far serve to command for the podium,” he explained. “Early within the stride, our journey was as soon as simply no longer apt enough too.

“We’d determined to stride to the anxious tyre on the crimson flag as we felt there wasn’t a lot possibility from within the serve of, and it was as soon as our greatest manner to offset and remove a have a examine something varied.

“In direction of the end of that stint we had been if truth be told battling low grip. We would possibly perchance no longer kill early as there was as soon as too a lot traffic within the window, so we stayed out unless we had cleared it. Unfortunately by then, we had misplaced a piece of time. The 2nd and third stints had been extra encouraging, but we’d misplaced too a lot time by that demonstrate win serve into the mix. 

“We know that we are no longer rapid enough within the within the meantime, so we are in a position to continue [to] work anxious to provide a enhance to that. Despite the harsh result, it has been a handy weekend to be taught extra about our automobile and fabricate our working out of the W15.”

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