Lewis Hamilton’s damning ‘not the case’ verdict amidst ‘worst start ever’ to a season

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton off the track in Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton has called 2024 his 'worst start' to a season

Lewis Hamilton would love to be fighting for race wins, or even finishing races, but he’s still feeling “pretty good” despite painting a bleak picture about Mercedes’ prospects for the rest of the season.

Racing for minor points in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton’s time at the Albert Park circuit ended on lap 17 when he pulled off the track with an engine failure.

‘This is the worst start to season I’ve ever had’

It’s left him sitting on eight points after three races, officially his worst start to a season ever. It’s worse than the first two years in the ground-effect aerodynamic era where he scored 28 and 38, and even behind 2009’s 14 points.

“I mean, this is the worst start to season I’ve ever had,” he acknowledged to the media in Melbourne.

Asked if it has been ‘even worse than the last two’, he replied: “Oh, yeah, for sure. And it’s worse than 2009 I think.”

“Surprisingly,” he added, “I feel pretty good. I’m trying to keep things in perspective, you know, this like, could be so much worse.

“I’m really grateful. I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Australia, I’m still enjoying working with a team. Of course, I’d love to be fighting for wins and actually finishing races.

“It’s never a great feeling when you come all this way, and you don’t see even half of the race, but what I know is that we will bounce back, we will eventually get there, we just have to continue to chip away.”

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However, on a day when Mercedes failed to reach the chequered flag with George Russell crashing out as he battled Fernando Alonso for sixth place, Hamilton concedes Mercedes’ form is “tough” to accept.

The team came out of pre-season testing believing they would at least be in the running for podium results, but so far their best showing has been a P5 result.

“I think it’s tough on the spirit,” he said.

“I think for everyone in the team, when so much work is going on throughout the winter for everybody, you come in excited, motivated and driven, and then you’re with the mindset that you’re going to be fighting for wins.

“And then obviously that’s not the case. And then you’re like, ‘Okay, maybe second, third’. No, it’s not the case, and it cascades a bit further down. And you just go through the motions. It’s challenging.

“But I continue to be inspired by the people I’ve worked with. They continue to put in the effort and show up and that’s the most important thing.”

He added: “I think it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and be focused on this one thing but the bigger picture is definitely the focus of the moment, and also just realising that you can’t control everything.

“Like you get frustrated because you don’t have control, you can just let go and just be in the moment and that’s really… it’s not great, I’m not happy, but I’m gonna have a great day tomorrow.”

However, asked if there was anything in the pipeline that would make a difference, he replied: “I don’t know.”

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