‘Excuses’ and ’embarrassing’ – Pundits weigh in on Lewis Hamilton’s qualy error

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton with his head down as he walks past the Red Bull garage

Lewis Hamilton with his head down as he walks past the Red Bull garage

As Lewis Hamilton went from “hero to zero” in China on Saturday, former F1 driver Robert Doornbos says Mercedes’ points deficit to Red Bull is “embarrassing”.

Despite starting this season confident they’d taken a step forward with the all-new W15, correlation issues between the factory and the track have left Mercedes scrambling for answers.

Lewis Hamilton went from ‘hero to zero’ in China

Although the data from their simulation tools claims the team has found downforce having overhauled the car over the winter, the lap times are not coming.

It has meant that aside from Hamilton’s P2 in the Sprint race in China where he was second to Max Verstappen, Mercedes have not featured on the podium this season.

The team has managed a best result of P5 in a Grand Prix, leaving them on 42 points, 113 down on championship leaders Red Bull.

“It is embarrassing for Mercedes to have so few points now,” Doornbos told Ziggo Sport.

Mercedes’ hopes of adding to their tally in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix were dealt a blow in qualifying when Hamilton made a mistake at Turn 14 and ran wide.

It’s been suggested that cost him six-tenths of a second, leaving the seven-time World Champion languishing down in 18th place on the grid.

“Hamilton went from hero to zero,” was Doornbos’ assessment. “He was second in the sprint race and then you’re eighteenth in qualifying for the race.”

His fellow pundit Olav Mol added: “The difference between Russell and Hamilton is far too big. They don’t always score in pairs like Red Bull and McLaren.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Chinese GP quali data: Fernando Alonso shines as Mercedes go back to square one

Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

Nico Rosberg calls out Lewis Hamilton’s ‘excuse’

Hamilton blamed set-up changes for his qualifying woes, the Briton revealing Mercedes had experimented with the set-up between the Sprint and qualifying.

“This afternoon we’re trying to experiment still with the car,” he said. “I went one way, a long way, and he went the other way, just to see if we can find anything.

“That’s what we need to do at the moment. But yeah, it didn’t work.”

He added: “It wasn’t too bad in some places but I struggled, I couldn’t get it to stop in 14. So it is what it is.”

However, his former team-mate Nico Rosberg says that’s just an “excuse”, Hamilton made a mistake.

“For me that’s an excuse this year,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s on a great lap, he was a tenth faster than George at the moment when he braked too late.

“He’s having a difficult phase at the moment.”

Read next: F1 starting grid: What is the grid order for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix?