After his shock Q1 exit, Lewis Hamilton admits he just wants to go home, but avoided starting Sunday’s Saudi Arabian GP from the pit lane.
Taking to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday night in what had already been a chaotic race weekend with the drivers speaking of a boycott after Friday’s missile attack, Mercedes knew they faced a tough task getting through to Q3.
Hamilton didn’t even make it out of Q1.
The Britain struggled for pace, confused as to how he was initially seven-tenths down on his team-mate George Russell in the first sector alone on their opening run.
Swapping from mediums to soft tyres after Nicholas Latifi’s crash, Hamilton briefly squeezed into Q2 in 15th place only to be knocked out by the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll.
It was the Briton’s first Q1 exit since Brazil 2017.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 26, 2022
Telling his team that he was “so sorry” after being informed of his elimination, Hamilton later told French television: “I’m looking forward to going home.”
The Briton has since been moved up to P15 on the grid after Haas confirmed that Mick Schumacher would not take the start after his horror crash.
Hamilton, though, was considering a pit lane start as that would give Mercedes the chance to “change the car” ahead of the race.
“For sure, there is something wrong,” PA quotes him as having said. “It has never been that bad.
“Maybe I will start from the pit lane and change the car so it doesn’t handle the way it just did.
“I just apologise to my team. Everybody works so hard and when you don’t deliver for them it is gutting.”
But when the FIA’s final grid was released pre-race, Hamilton was still shown as starting P15.
While Hamilton dropped out in Q1, Russell made it through to Q3 where he qualified in sixth place.
Hamilton is not sure as to what the difference in the set-ups was, but concedes it was his call how his W13 was set up.
“I don’t know how different the cars are set up but the car was undriveable with the set-up I chose,” he said.
“But it’s my own fault, I made some set-up changes.
“I don’t know if that was everything to do with it, but it was very unstable. I don’t know what I’m going to be able to do, but I’m a long way back.”
Asked if he was surprised to be eliminated so early, he replied: “Yeah, of course. [The set-up] was looking good in P3, I tried to progress in a similar direction and maybe went too far.
“The car was just undriveable, and so nervous.”