A bad weekend gets worse for Hamilton

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

143 comments on “A bad weekend gets worse for Hamilton”

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  1. I hope this isn’t a repeat of Raikkonen’s problems in 2008… It will ruin his reputation to an overrated driver just like it did with Kimi.

    1. nah Hamilton is still very very hungry. Not to worry.

  2. If the car was bad to drive in qualifying, then it’s not going to suddenly transform itself in the race. Lewis, at best, could find himself staring at the gearbox of a Mercedes for quite a number of laps.

    1. When you add 150kg of fuel it might change things a lot though.

      Besides, I would assume his problems originated from the tyres. There was some talk of them changing the tyre pressures. Maybe for the worse?

      Besides, the drivers in P11 and down should be allowed to change their setup right? Q2 is done with low fuel and does not have to take into account that 150kg of fuel gets added. They will have to make changes for the car to even be able to run

      1. “Besides, the drivers in P11 and down should be allowed to change their setup right? Q2 is done with low fuel and does not have to take into account that 150kg of fuel gets added. They will have to make changes for the car to even be able to run”

        At the beginning of Q1 the cars are in parc ferme conditions, which means that the cars setup is ‘locked off’ barring changes to front wing angle and tyre pressures. All qualifying is now done with low fuel, and the teams should know what suspension settings to use for a full fuel load in order to compete in qualifying and the race without need for adjustment.

  3. I really am disapppointed by this result. I can only hope Lewis can carve his way through the field or something, but…

  4. I’m actually a little disappointed, Not in Hamilton, he’s young, successful, it’s the kind of stupid things people do at that age (being 19 I can testify to doing stupid things…. groan…) ,
    And I’m not disappointed in the press, because, they always sensationalise things, nothing surprising there.

    But I’m deeply disappointed in the managing body of the sport, considering how F1 is always promoting safety both on and off the track (make roads safe for instance)
    I feel, that if he does not have repercussions from within the sport, (as other sportsmen and women do from other sports) It will be a hypocrisy on a level that I have not seen for a long time, As a role model, surely he should be punished for this, and a slap on the wrist isn’t good enough.

    It is worse than a local footy player doing the same thing, or a local hoon, as he is a professional car driver, he knows the rules, and it isn’t the first time he has done something like this (didn’t he get in trouble in France a while ago?)

    That being said I hope he does well tomorrow, not too well, because I decided not to put him up top on my predictions, thinking the Mclaren’s where of the pass….

    1. are kidding me, repercussions for lighting up your tires. The car being impounded seems appropriate. Whatever happened to justice for all, he should be treated the same as if I got caught lighting up my tires. Not made some spectacle of.

      1. repercussions FOR BREAKING THE LAW.

        Yes, there should be. He broke the local road rules. Full stop. Doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do, he broke the local road rules. Hoon driving is severaly frowned upon here, and Hamilton is a d*ckbrain for doing what he did, especially on the weekend where the FIA were pusing their “Make Roads Safe” campaign.

  5. K. Chandra Shekhar
    27th March 2010, 12:59

    Remember Bahrain? Train! Lewis 11 is excellent, at least we will see some racing.

  6. If anyone can charge from the back of the grid, its Lewis. Don’t forget, he did it last year.

  7. Hamilton’s carreer is very unstable with lots of ups and downs, so it is not very surprising and, I think he will recover from this. And his dad is really like a talisman:)

  8. wong chin kong
    27th March 2010, 13:07

    Hamilton is in 11th position in the starting grid. Good! He will risk everything to get himself into the point scoring position, that will enliven the expected boring processional race. Hamilton is a professional racer, all these distractions are actually non-issues on race day.

  9. darren felton
    27th March 2010, 13:42

    lots off different opinions,we all know how good the boy is so lets wait and see?

  10. There seem to be a lot of Lewis fans that think he’ll do great things from this position. I’m a Lewis fan, but I can’t see too much happening from him this weekend, not sure picking his tyres will really make a difference. Hopefully he’ll get up to around 8th, maybe 7th if we’re lucky. If he gets a few points, I’ll be happy with that.

    But like others have said, if there’s a driver that can cut their way through the field it’s Lewis. SO let’s see what he can do :-D

    I just hope he can keep it out the wall this weekend!

    1. “I just hope he can keep it out the wall this weekend!”

      That, I fear, is just as likely to happen as anything else. Could be another weekend in Oz to forget for Lewis.

    2. Ned Flanders
      27th March 2010, 14:48

      Normally I’d agree, but Albert Park is one of those tracks where crazy things tend to happen. If a few drivers in front crash and the safety car comes out at the right time expect him to score some decent points.

      And if it rains, I could see him getting on the podium

  11. excuses excuses, hamilton just isn’t fast enough simple.

    slowly jenson is getting his foot through the mclaren door which will make lewis’ job alot harder.

    1. As good as Button is (and he is very under-rated), Hamilton didn’t suddenly become a slow driver overnight.

      1. pardon miss-type (just wasn’t fast enough simple.)

  12. John Edwards
    27th March 2010, 14:27

    No one was saying the playboy lifestyle was cramping his style at the last race, funny that…

    The car is not working the way he wants, I wouldn’t imagine he would have been driving around thinking of all this background bulls***.

    The McLaren is a bit crap, I think they are surprised how far off Red bull and Ferrari they are, Button did a good job today, he achieved the best result he could get and 4th tomorrow would be a good result for him I think.

    It might make a better race with Hamilton in 11th as he is the one driver who can overtake…If he can’t pass tomorrow the regs really do need changing quickly.

    1. “It might make a better race with Hamilton in 11th as he is the one driver who can overtake…If he can’t pass tomorrow the regs really do need changing quickly.”

      To be fair, there are quite a few drivers in front of him that can also overtake just as well as he can. Maybe not so many that are willing to take unnecessary risks.

      1. Rosberg will give him a hard time overtaking, so will Schumacher, rubens Kubica and Massa, quite a strong field up front so 7th-9th is a realistic position for him IMO just because the car is not that great.

      2. I personally dont expect Hamilton to finish the race on sunday.He has been put in an awkward situation by this police problem/case which will land him in court.
        THE POLICE should have given him a warning and let him know the limitations of his actions.IN any case there was no life threatened and he was not speeding.Hmilton needs to be told that we already know his driving ability and hence there was/no need to do stunts on normal streets/roads.I THINK HE MAY HAVE been DEMONSTATING SOMETHING TO WHOEVER was the Passenger with him in the car.
        COMING back to the race mclaren seem to be making mistakes at the last hour .it makes nio sense to shine in practises one two and three and only to loose out when it matters during qualification.
        Having known the limitations of their car and the capabillities of the opposition , they should have HAMILTON early onto the tract in Q2 WITH ENOUGH fuel for fice laps..instead they sent him out late with only fuel for two flying laps which plus a busy track made him not able to challange the rest.
        the ONLY hope for HAMILTON is to have CLEAN START on sunday and pray that there is a safety car and rain.MOST of us are surelly missing the Hmilton who drove skillfully in the wet at silverstone in 2008.

        1. anyone knows who this mysterious male passenger is?

          I wouldn’t put it past Schumacher to sit next to Hamilton in that car shouting in his ear: ‘And now a burn out!’… and calling the cops the next moment ;-)

    2. Are you saying schumacher, alonso and button can’t overtake ?? I know that hamilton is realy good but comone he is not a magician.

  13. Lewis is going to liven up the race tomorrow! The guy can carve his way up the track unlike, *cough, cough* Vettel

    1. “cough, cough” brazil 09, 16th to 4th

      “cough, cough” didn’t need KERS assisting him in the straights to overtake all last season “cough cough”

      1. cough cough, did it all through following buttons coatails an pit strategy. Has never won a race he needed to pass to win. Has always done it through grabbing the pole with a magnifcent lap then controlling from the front. Absolute classic example of a qualifiying specialist. It’s why Hamilton Alonso and Button refer to the Redbulls an don’t really talk about Vettle. They know if he comes up behind them it’s alright. He couldn’t pass Button in Turkey with the opportunity handed to him on a platter it was mad. Vettle must learn to overtake, an to improve his position against competative cars otherwise he’ll only ever be half the driver that deserves a championship. If you can’t win without being on pole it’s the car thats winning races. 80% Car 20% driver. That 20% can be just as important in a competative field.

        1. yes scribe! thankyou for saying it how it is. the thing that annoys me about vettel (and massa, not as bad as vettel in this respect though) is that if they dont qualify on the front row its pretty much race over

  14. Ned Flanders
    27th March 2010, 14:50

    Nothing to do with Hamilton, but did anyone who went back to bed after qualifying wake up thinking it was Sunday and expecting the race to be on? I did, qualifying seems like yesterday already!

    1. Sheesh, Ned! Shut it! I woke up to watch at 02:00. Welcome to my world!
      Shall do it all again tonight (tomorrow morn.).


  15. The only thing that needs to happen is Mclaren making sure Hamilton has the support he needs via proper management.

    Yes, the management split from his father has brought the issue into focus, but I don’t think there’s reason to draw any further conclusions from this weekend’s events.

  16. Ned Flanders
    27th March 2010, 14:54

    Just read this on Adam Cooper’s blog, which puts the burnout incident in a new perspective:

    “Local police may have been a little jumpy because this morning a famous Melbourne restaurant owner was killed in a motorcycle accident just yards away from where Lewis was stopped.”

  17. theviewingfoot
    27th March 2010, 16:25

    You know pre-season a lot of people said that Hamilton would make mincemeat out of Button. I think what we’re seeing is that LH isn’t as Mentally tough as we all thought. If he was he would’nt have cared about the evening before and concentrated on Quali… JB has one thing over LH, life experience. This may count for a lot if LH is going through any difficult growing pains.

  18. Glad too see that its not only in the UK that Police sit in there cars waiting for the cash cow that is the motorist too arrest, while murderers, muggers and drug dealers roam the streets.

    1. You forget that the vast amount of “murderers, muggers and drug dealers” tend to “roam the streets” in cars these days.

      We should all realise that motor vehicles are deadly weapons and not even drivers with Hamilton’s abilities are able to predict what could happen in certain situations. He certainly didn’t have the observational skills to spot the lurking policeman!

      1. Lol, `Roam in Cars`, Dont know about you, but a BMX suffices around my way.

  19. McLaren cars have slowed down half a second a lap because they have switched to ugly black wheels instead of retaining the beautiful silver ones shown in the new car presentation.

    1. That statement makes a helluva lot more sense than the ones suggesting McLaren should write off this season!

    2. I think it’s this kind of logic that makes a great f1 fan.

  20. I really don’t get the story. Heaving in bits about his change of management and whatever is non sequitur. The whole post here is a bit tabloidy and rather unexpected on this site.

    Anyway the theory here has no foundation and is not fresh. Hamilton has picked up fines for egregious behavior on the road before, for example, in France, with his dad in control. The same dad who put a borrowed Carrera GT in a hedgerow, if I recall. And F1 drivers taking liberties on public roads in general is a not man-bites-dog anymore.

    I have my own theory about why he didn’t make Q3: poor set up, poor timing with traffic, and inability to heat the tires.

    1. I have my own theory about why he didn’t make Q3: poor set up, poor timing with traffic, and inability to heat the tires.

      It’s not as if I ignored that anything other than his run-in with the police might be the cause of his problems in qualifying. Quite the opposite.

      F1 drivers taking liberties on public roads in general is a not man-bites-dog anymore.

      Any more? Was it ever?

      1. You only have to read Perry McCarthy’s autobiography to see that F1 drivers have always been “reckless” on the roads. He describes firstly, being pulled over by Belgian police for speeding after the 1992 Belgian GP farce and also a private road race between him and Ayrton Senna (who had just lost a race to Mansell I think and wanted revenge).

        1. Ned Flanders
          27th March 2010, 18:40

          Just because it’s happened in the past doesn’t justify drivers speeding today.

          You could then say people could get away with being racist 20 or 30 years ago- in which case it’s understandable that some people are still racist today. Which isn’t true

          1. Didn’t say anywhere that it was justified, merely that it has happened before and probably will happen again.

      2. LOL! Just read Gerry Donaldson’s biography of a chap named Gilles Villeneuve. ;)

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