Is The Chinese Grand Prix Another Complicated Battle For Lewis Hamilton?

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Most of us who happen to follow Formula 1 regularly, will know for certain the kind of troubles that a certain Lewis Hamilton has been enduring. In what was supposed to have been a memorable last season with Mercedes for the great mega multiple world champion, seems like another onerous experience marked by constant misery for the Stevenage-born racing hero.

But truth is that those of us who happened to follow the recently completed Chinese Grand Prix would have noted that Lewis Hamilton’s troubles were further exacerbated by a qualifying performance so utterly dire that even his worst critics may not have imagined.

We’ve known that Hamilton’s been struggling with a lack of qualifying performance and furthermore, by insipid race results; yet none of us have ever seen him fall as far behind on the grid as finishing P18 on a Saturday.

Which is precisely what happened to the seven-time Formula 1 world champion, when Lewis Hamilton found himself knocked out in Q1 itself; managing a shabby and rather strange-looking eighteenth in the end.

But having said that, perhaps what was most shocking was the fact that it did seem at one stage as though the man who finds himself in a spot of bother had, in fact, taken a giant stride in his 2024 results.

Finishing second in the qualifying for the Sprint race in China, Hamilton not only finished inside the top three (in any format) for the first time this season, but in so doing sparks hopes for a strong revival that many may not have predicted.

He hung in brilliantly onto second despite having been overtaken after a few laps post the start by Max Verstappen. But that the great Briton defended valiantly from a fast catching Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso was vintage Hamilton.

What would follow during qualifying, thereafter, of course, was nobody’s guess. As one noted, in the opening round of Q1, Lewis Hamilton made a slight mistake at the challenging hairpin of the Shanghai International Circuit and from that point on, never looked comfortable in his Mercedes machine.

Noted F1 expert and former racing driver Karen Chandhok also shared that the rare error on the part of Lewis Hamilton cost him no fewer than six-tenths of a second, which otherwise would’ve been enough to make it to round#2 of the qualifying battle at China.

This, resultantly, meant that only one of the two Mercedes cars would last until Q3; Hamilton’s teammate George Russell begins his 2024 Chinese Grand Prix from P8, ahead of Nico Hülkenberg and Valtteri Bottas in that order.

However, on his part, Hamilton, a five-time winner at China, will contest in a race of attrition where his efforts will mainly be towards salvaging some kind of a recovery in what could be a complex battle and maybe even complicated conditions owing to the varying track temperatures at Shanghai.

Here’s what Hamilton exclaimed in the aftermath of a day that was punctuated by mixed feelings for the veteran legend:

“Massive changes since qualifying. 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.”

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