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

  1. 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.

  2. John Edwards said on 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.

    • “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.

      • 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.

      • patrick(uk) said on 27th March 2010, 18:21

        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.

        • verstappen said on 27th March 2010, 21:33

          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 ;-)

    • damjan006 said on 27th March 2010, 17:38

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

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

    • “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”

      • Scribe said on 27th March 2010, 22:32

        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.

        • Harvs said on 28th March 2010, 0:13

          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

  4. Ned Flanders said on 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!

    • gpfan said on 27th March 2010, 21:42

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


  5. Simon said on 27th March 2010, 14:51

    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.

  6. Ned Flanders said on 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.”

  7. theviewingfoot said on 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.

  8. Gusto said on 27th March 2010, 16:38

    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.

    • 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!

  9. Bartholomew said on 27th March 2010, 17:44

    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.

  10. 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th March 2010, 18:00

      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?

      • Franton said on 27th March 2010, 18:34

        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).

        • Ned Flanders said on 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

          • Franton said on 27th March 2010, 19:36

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

      • gpfan said on 27th March 2010, 21:50

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

  11. theRoswellite said on 27th March 2010, 19:41

    Keith, great stand on the “I don’t really care about his private life”.

    For me, this is…much ado about nothing. Poor qualifying, Webber had a bit of a problem last race, most of the other top drivers will experience a similar problem this year.

    Too bad Lewis, just get after it in the race. End of drama.

  12. Palle said on 27th March 2010, 20:21

    Police in AUS have a reputation for a no tolerance policy. They are very strict and therefore like in the US traffic tends to be very slow.
    I don’t think LH lets that incident affect his Q2. Several drivers had problems because the temperature was lower than yesterday. And despite being LH, off course he can’t carve his way up through the field. Overtaking is difficult, maybe more this season than normally.

    • Patrickl said on 27th March 2010, 20:56

      There were 21 overtakes in Bahrain. We just didn’t see them on TV because they only showed the “battle” for the lead, the “battle” for third and the “battle” for fifth.

      Hamilton will surely at least try something. Maybe he will mess it up like when he started 10 positions back in France after his penalty for the Canada crash in 2008. Or maybe he will get (almost) back to the podium like last year.

      Or remember Monza 2008 where Vettel gets all the praise? Hamilton was on a one stop race from P16. He almost won that race, but got unlucky with the weather change and had to stop again.

      I guess when Hamilton isn’t able to overtake anybody (with nothing to lose) it’s a good sign that things really are wrong.

      • Gusto said on 27th March 2010, 22:37

        Patrick!, Your comment reminded me that the TV coverage off the race at Bahrain was dreadful, statiscally the race was average if not above average, but that dont sell papers…….Hmm how to improve the show… The only one rubbing He`s hands is Bernie.

      • Scribe said on 27th March 2010, 22:38

        Hmm that’s the thing. If Hamilton can’t overtake then it’s two hard. The best overtakers on the feild are Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Webber, imo, or most exciting. Point is none of these drivers could overtake in Bahrain. Now while there where other circumstances McLaren definatley has the 3rd fastest car at the mo. So Hamilton should, really be able to collect Kubica Barrichello and Suitl. If he can’t then ban wings.

  13. JUGNU said on 27th March 2010, 20:25

    Very disappointing result form Hamilton but i am hoping for rain and him fighting back. I still think he will finish above Button.

    Rain + Fightback from Hamilton = More excitement than many future races combined this year would provide.

  14. Gusto said on 27th March 2010, 23:09

    Where are the traffic police when your getting undertaken at 100mph while your checking your mirrors in a 70 zone. Where are they when you think` Am I the only one who knows the rules`. `Too busy eating donuts at the intersection too give a toss`.

  15. Gusto said on 27th March 2010, 23:31

    The Middle Lane Is For Overtaking…….

    Either be overtaken or overtake

    Its not Rocket science….?

    • Gusto said on 28th March 2010, 0:11

      there`s Lies, Tham lies, and f**king lies…I think there will be a 33$ percent chance that what I Spill will be true

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