Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2015

Set-up change left Hamilton at a disadvantage

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton revealed a set-up change on his Mercedes left him at a disadvantage after missing out on pole position in Abu Dhabi.

However he expects to be closer to team mate Nico Rosberg in the race after the pair were separted by 0.377 seconds in qualifying.

“Generally it gets a little bit better in the race but it’s been for a while now,” said Hamilton in the press conference after qualifying. “Generally just struggling on the edge with the car.”

“It was a lot more comfortable at the beginning of the year for me and as I said, coming into this weekend I tried to make some changes. It disadvantaged myself a little bit maybe with one of the things I took off the car which was of benefit. I tried to get around it but at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough.”

Hamilton, who took pole position for 11 of the first 12 races of the year, has now gone seven races in row without starting first. He said he isn’t concerned by the turnaround.

“It doesn’t really matter what that number is at the end of the day, what matters is the wins and obviously the championship,” he said.

“I’m happy because it has obviously been more in my favour. I’ve enjoyed it and in the last six Nico has done a great job. Areas to improve with the car, for me, on my side, but I’m sure we’ll get there.”

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Set-up change left Hamilton at a disadvantage”

  1. Looked like a gust of wind to me.

    1. Good one :-)

    2. Haha, awesome ;)

    3. Just imagine if Nico told that to Lewis in the post-quali press conference..

    4. :-) hahaha that’s gold!

  2. I’m saddened that Hamilton’s lack of dominance lately is categorized as “Hamilton’s own fault” rather than “perhaps Lewis is getting beaten to pole”. I’m also saddened that we are discussing team strategy now that Lewis is not on pole when nothing changed on that subject. When I said last year, that having 2 guys fighting for the championship on the same team, isn’t “fair”, contrary the title of 2014 F1 review, I got my inbox full of raging comments. As far as we can tell Merc may have the victor of next years championship already coded on their car software.

    1. @peartree Who are you quoting there?

      1. @keithcollantine, he’s quoting his own delusions…

    2. Given the first person to say Hamilton’s at fault is Hamilton, it’s easy to see why people are saying it.

      1. I was also reinforcing the idea that 2 team-mates can’t ever fight on equal footing.

        Senna and Prost fought on equal footing at McLaren.

        1. @raceprouk No they didn’t. Ron supported Senna’s Suzuka case. Also there’s rumours of sabotage between both sides of the garage, two of a million incidents.

          1. I’m prepared to believe Prost/Senna, Hamilton/Rosberg, Hamilton/Alonso is all fair whoever is in front did a better job and any controversy is in the mind of the driver not winning as a way to justify no one could possibly do a better job on equal terms. Unless actual evidence is presented it is nothing more than the media perpetuating the loosing drivers insecurities.

          2. Is it sarcasm markp? Hamilton/Alonso or Prost/Senna being fair? I mean never mind Prost/Senna, it’s been years, but Hamilton/Alonso ???

          3. Also there’s rumours of sabotage between both sides of the garage

            Because rumours are always true…

          4. No sarcasm. Just no proof anything was not right just rumours from each side or one sides opinion. Unless there was proof a long the lines of 2007 spygate evidence (actual paperwork or computer files) that one driver is favoured then I do not believe it. I know my
            example was car design related but that is because there is no example of one driver being favoured over another when they are very closely matched.

    3. Hamilton’s said no one can beat him as long as he doesn’t make a mistake. But he also says he’s getting beaten because of “set up” or “changes in the car”. So I’m a bit conflicted…

    4. The Ham once again shows that he does not have the qualities of a champion in any arena except cry baby competition…………. what a first class jerk, 3 times world champion some say but his behavior continues to be immature at best. Thanks, Norris PS So at least one person thinks that it is possible to ‘code’ in a few milliseconds of race / qualifying time in a cars performance?????? I for one, am not going for it!!

  3. …But when Nico Rosberg has a setup disadvantage it’s all because of Hamilton’s superiority as a driver. ;)

    To be honest, Nico seems to reach a good setup faster than Hamilton. I get that impression from those occasions when, for whatever reason, they don’t get to run the full practice schedules: Nico always comes out of those constrains on top, setup wise.

    1. Until Spain Hamilton was getting awesome starts, Rosberg was struggling, Merc faff around with the car and Hamilton starts getting bad starts.

      In the races, 2 thirds into the season Hamilton was smashing Rosberg left right and centre, Singapore comes and the team have a strange and dire result so Merc start faffing around with the car to find answers, Hamiltons results dip again.


    2. I don’t think that’s true at all. Lots of the early races that Hamilton dominated were washed out Fridays. Rosberg has caught up and is now in angry mode. I suspect Hamilton is a little unmotivated, just like most of us watching the race this weekend.

      I just hope Ferrari can come back next season. This Merc dominance is getting worse than the Red Bull years.

    3. That’s true about Rosberg being faster with less practice in some races. I believe drivers like Hamilton/Vettel get faster and faster with more practice actually. Contrary to popular belief that every time they would be faster with less practice.

  4. Lots of opinions are going on atm, great to read, some are a little outrageous for my taste. For me, we’ll see the true picture come after the first 5 races next year, to see who of these 2 drivers actually are in front. If the conspiracy theorists are correct, which I’m not really agreeing with at this point, then perhaps we’ll see Nico’s string of good results continue into the new year.

    I hate fueling the fire, but there is actually precedant of teams meddling with their drivers. Obviously all the team orders we’ve seen from Ferrari and RBR, but I also think back to Williams, back when they were dominant in the 90’s. Damon Hill won the WDC in 96, they didn’t want to pay him more for having a WDC on the team, which left Hill in the unenviable position of sucking up a lowly $9M (IIRC) or finding another team that would pay him a WDC salary, which he did at Arrows who really weren’t going to compete for the 1997 championship. The other example I’ll give is Jacques Villeneuve who was brought into the pitlane while leading on debut in 1996 at Melbourne, the car was leaking oil, however, many people questioned why they would bring the leader of a race into the pit, inspect the car and then send it out again. Consider if a car is leaking oil from pretty much the start of the race, there really is no way to fix it within a pitstop. Not to mention why do it as a separate pitstop with 10 laps or so to go, after the scheduled pitstops were completed when it was clear there was an issue from pretty much lap 5.

  5. Sometimes I think it’s better when a sportsman just says ” he was better than me today”. He could add “but it’s only Saturday and its a long race tomorrow ” and nobody would have an issue.

    What I get a bit sick of is Hamilton in particular seems to come up with an excuse that doesn’t involve him – it’s always the equipment, or the team, or some other factor.

    True champions know when to show some humility – he’d be a whole heap more likeable if he did more often.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

    2. I understand your point and I like it when someone holds their hands up. Vettel says Ricciardo beat him because he was faster and in Mexico excuses were made by tv commentators but when interviewed he said all my fault.

      On the other side I appreciate the mental side of working at an elite level means you have to convince yourself there is a reason you lost and it’s nothing to do with you. To do otherwise would compromise your oerformances in future as the way you work is living in a bubble with the belief without outside issues you will win. Boxers are often like this. Its just the way some people work and winning 3 world titles I would say it works for Hamilton so I think he will always be like this whilst driving.

    3. So if it’s a factor beyond the driver’s control, they should lie and say it’s their fault instead?

  6. The Ham once again shows that he does not have the qualities of a champion in any arena except cry baby competition…………. what a first class jerk, 3 times world champion some say but his behavior continues to be immature at best. Thanks, Norris

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