A bad weekend gets worse for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton starts 11th in tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton starts 11th in tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix

So far it’s shaping up to be another weekend to forget in Australia for Lewis Hamilton. He became the first driver from one of the ‘big four’ teams to fail to make the cut for Q3 in qualifying this year.

The timing couldn’t be worse – he’s already in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after he was pulled over by the Melbourne police yesterday.

He lines up a disappointing 11th on the grid for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix despite McLaren believing they’d improved their car’s pace over a flying lap.

It’s not unusual for any driver to have a poor result in qualifying now and then. When the gap between reaching Q3 and missing it is measured in hundredths of a second it’s bound to happen sooner or later.

But given distractions outside the cockpit yesterday you have to wonder if his mind was elsewhere. And whether he would have had that problem in the first place if he still had the guiding hands of father Anthony managing his career.

Of course the reasons for his difficulties today could be more straightforward. All the drivers had to cope with traffic on the circuit and lower track temperatures, and some did rather better than others.

Hamilton wasn’t the only driver who was some way off his team mate’s pace. Felipe Massa was seven-tenths slower than Fernando Alonso in Q2 and Q3.

Hamilton faces a struggle to make an impression from 11th on the grid tomorrow. He at least has a free choice of which tyre he will start the race on, knowing that all the drivers in front of him will be on the soft compound.

Was just a one-off blip or are problems that run deeper? Have your say in the comments and have a look at the earlier qualifying coverage for more from other readers.

2010 Australian Grand Prix

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143 comments on A bad weekend gets worse for Hamilton

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  1. Hmmmm me thinks the lack of Anthony Hamilton’s ‘rod of steel rule’ is already having an effect on Hamilton – He jetted into Melbourne late from LA (wonder who is was seeing there – he’s probably still a bit Jet lagged) then starts thinking he’s Tiff Needell ! – the shackles are off and he’s gonna go through a bit of a”Playboy” process like Button did when he first got into F1 – not the McLaren way but hey the boys gotta live ! Perhaps Button maybe should have a little word in his shell-like and with his experience tell him the two do not mix.

    • kowalsky said on 27th March 2010, 12:19

      are you crazy. He is so happy lewis is running after nicole’s skirt. Now jenson has got a chance. And slowly but surely vettel and alonso are getting the job done.

  2. iceshiel said on 27th March 2010, 10:38

    I am hoping to seeing hamilton battle his way forward from 11th!

    • Well said iceshiel, If there is a driver on the grid that can fulfill such hope its Lewis Hamilton. Fingers crossed for rain :)

      • iceman said on 27th March 2010, 11:12

        if rain happens than dont forget shumacher.

        • cabbagesVScarrots said on 27th March 2010, 12:01

          very true iceman and i’m looking forward to a good fight between hamilton and schumacher in the rain

          • iceman said on 27th March 2010, 13:47

            bring it on than ………lets see who is rain master…and no excuses aftermath

          • Sush Meerkat said on 27th March 2010, 14:04

            being a Rain Konig is as much about the car as the driver, if the rain hits its cars like the RB6 that would stomp the field.

    • innim said on 27th March 2010, 14:59

      Dont forget last year, he finished 4th after a bad quali session…
      I suspect definitely points for hamilton, possibly even a podium if he gets a good race. Im guessing he will start on the harder tires, whereas all those in front of him will be on soft.
      Hammy for WDC 2010!!!

      • Calum said on 27th March 2010, 20:30

        Sorry to rain on your parade but it’s as good as Alonso’s, since he won the opening race :P

  3. disjunto said on 27th March 2010, 10:43

    This is a good thing, he might actually fight for positions and make the cameras show us some more mid field battles :)

    • Senor Paz said on 27th March 2010, 21:44

      Absolutely. Even if the race at the front turns out to be really boring (which I doubt), it’s always good to know that there’s a guy out the back with his aggressive shoes always on and nothing to lose.

      Lewis is always good to watch, and if last year’s Aussie GP is anything to go by we can expect him to finish in the top 6 at least.

  4. Upside for Lewis is that he can choose his tyres for the race, but that’s not much consolation if the cars setup is not good. He didn’t seem to have any confidence in the car.

  5. Weird that post i was relying too has disappeared … makes my reply look out of place now :(

  6. We all know what a difference a day can make between quali and the race. It would be a shame if he went for hard tyres and jumped everyone when they put first, but otherwise this should be good for the show. Even better if it rains.

  7. John H said on 27th March 2010, 11:10

    I would love it if he told the murdoch trash to swivel one of these days.

    The headlines “you donut lewis” are just plain innacurate and make me be ashamed to be British.

    • I’m guessing the “you donut lewis” headline is more referring to his antics in the Road Car doing burn outs doughnuts and power-slides on the streets of Melbourne rather than any on-track performance :)

      • There were no ” doughnuts and power-slides on the streets of Melbourne” pat. He just lit up his rear tyers coming away from the circuit exit to give the fans a bit of show. Someone deceptively posted old footage of Hamilton doing doughnuts at a promo event and the gutter press ran it as news

    • al_amana said on 27th March 2010, 11:13

      Ashamed to be British? Surely not………..

    • Ned Flanders said on 27th March 2010, 14:43

      John H- hah that would be funny. I hate British papers too, I hate the spin they put on all their news

    • Senor Paz said on 27th March 2010, 21:47

      Here in Australia the headlines were: “F1 ace hoon shame”…

      At least they got the “ace” in there…

      By the way, does anyone know what the problem was with his pace? Would it be tyre temperature related like Massa?

  8. In previous years i would have been excited at the prospect of Hamilton carving his way up through the field. But with these new regulations, and the fact that Lewis just doesn’t seem to be “on it”, i wouldn’t be surprised if his race ended either in a first lap collision, or in the middle of a procession.

    • kowalsky said on 27th March 2010, 12:13

      the race would finish with him running back to nicole, whethever she is. She is part of the problem, his father i am sure told him, but he is a world champ, and a grown up now, so he wouldn’t listen.
      Get married lewis, and forget to enter in the all times great list.

  9. You never know. Maybe this will give him a good kick up the **** for the race tomorrow. A good nights sleep can make all the difference…

    Anyway, if theres one driver capable of punching his way through the field its him.

  10. steph said on 27th March 2010, 11:21

    Keith I think you’ve done a marvellous job. The piece isn’t partisan and it doesn’t sensationalise what’s happened either. It’s tackled in a very level and fair way which is something I’ve come to love about this site as many places just want to build up a story with a lot of drama to sell while seemingly forgetting what actually happened.
    There have been some comments on this site and a couple of others which has brought up the issue of race. I think this is unfair and not relevant; it doesn’t do justice to the media or the fans and is used as some kind of excuse which isn’t fair on Hamilton either who has taken full responsibility and admitted his mistake.
    I’m not a Hamilton fan by any means as some here will know so maybe I’m not the best to comment.
    Now I have no problem with drivers or anyone for that matter having a little bit of fun and I’ll be honest there is an expectation and (for me anyway) some excitement if there is a ‘rock and roll image’. However, Hamilton broke the rules so it’s only fair that he gets punished. He must have known a ‘media storm’ would happen -maybe it wouldn’t 20 years ago-but there’s a certain image he is expected to uphold and frankly with the ‘make roads safe’ campaign the timing couldn’t be worse.
    For whatever reason, he messed up in quali or maybe the team did if there was some issue with the tyre pressures. Hopefully, he’ll climb through the field to provide some entertainment but anything could happen tomorrow and Hamilton was pretty vocal saying he couldn’t overtake Rosberg at Bahrain but I hope things are better at this track. He can at least choose his tyres but it’s probably not the same advantage as it was last year when fuel loads could be chosen also.

  11. Kishimba255 said on 27th March 2010, 11:23

    I believe Lewis’ 11th place was well planned. Interesting to see what happens tomorrow. If it works, everyone will try for 11th place from next race.

    • I’d be interested to hear why. I can’t think of any advantage of being 11th. The only thing he can change is tyres and if he really wanted to start on hard tyres he could have got into Q3 and seen how far up the grid he could get on them.

      • I agree with Keith on this being a very interesting theory!
        @ Andrew – how about the combination of free tyre choice + good position on the grid? i mean, if he takes 11th he gets whichever tyre he wants plus the better side on the grid, which may result in a better grip?
        it is kind of a safer way rather than using the hard tyres in Q3 and ending up on the “worse” side..

      • kowalsky said on 27th March 2010, 12:15

        his race is bust.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th March 2010, 11:37

      Well that’s an interesting theory! Can’t say I agree with it though…

    • You are not being serious are you?

  12. haha said on 27th March 2010, 11:25

    I have a feeling HAM will be one of the first to retire. I would never be behind Sutil who never checks his rear mirrors.

  13. Electrolite said on 27th March 2010, 11:27

    one off blip me thinks!

  14. Rohan said on 27th March 2010, 11:31

    Looks like Hamilton’s finally being found out.

  15. Oli Blatch said on 27th March 2010, 11:49

    I believe he will be at a advantage being 11th. He will get a new set of tyres which the front runners will not have. His average speed over the weekend has been 1:24.000/1:25.000 where as the three cars infront of him… Kubica, Sutil and Barrichello have been running at about 1:25.000/1.26.000 or just under throughout the weekend showing that he has the speed to get around them. I think that he may also be able to use the new tyres to his advantage and keep them for a long period of time, compared to the front runners, and I think he could possibly get a jump on Schumacher and Massa who haven’t had the pase either

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