Hamilton clarifies ‘difficult position’ radio message

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, head down on the grid. Australia, April 2022.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, head down on the grid before the Australian Grand Prix. April 2022.

Lewis Hamilton has explained what he meant when he accused Mercedes of putting him in a difficult position during the Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes were very pleasantly surprised with their qualifying performance, Hamilton securing P5 on the grid and team-mate George Russell starting P6 on a weekend when Russell said they had the “fifth fastest car” behind Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Alpine.

Their prospects improved further by passing P4 starter Lando Norris on the first lap, although a second Safety Car period brought mixed fortunes for the Mercedes drivers.

Russell benefited nicely, improving to a podium position, while Hamilton lost out to his team-mate and was also passed by Sergio Perez after leaving the pits.

Perez closed in on Russell and made the overtake, but with Max Verstappen retiring from P2 it meant Russell was back on for a podium with only Hamilton in a position to deny him.

Hamilton was not able to close in enough though and took to the radio, bluntly telling his Mercedes team “you guys put me in a really difficult position”.

It was not immediately clear what Hamilton meant as Mercedes could not have done anything about the Safety Car timing.

But in front of the Sky Sports F1 cameras, he revealed his words came as a result of his engine overheating, which meant he had to sit back from the Perez-Russell battle and could not later attack his team-mate.

“I got to see a bit of the battle at the end, racing Perez, and I wish I could have been in it,” said Hamilton.

“I couldn’t fight for third because the engine was overheating.Ā So I had to back off, just had to sit behind.”

There were no signs of any lingering frustration for Hamilton, quite the opposite, with the Briton expressing his delight at a “great result” for the team as he crossed the line P4 behind Russell in P3.

“It’s a great result for us as a team, honestly,” he said.

“This weekend we’ve had so many difficult moments with the car and so to get ourselves fifth and sixth in qualifying, to progress like we have and to have the reliability, and we definitely didn’t expect to have a third, fourth.

“And George did a great job today.Ā We’ve bagged as many points as we could as a team and that’s great.”

 

Mercedes leave the Australian Grand Prix still P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, 10 points ahead of Red Bull in P3.

Russell, meanwhile, has jumped to P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, nine points ahead of Hamilton.

 

Mercedes maximise their Australia result

George Russell took P3 and Lewis Hamilton P4 in what Mercedes will see as a bonus in Melbourne.