Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton blames understeer for poor pace

Chronic understeer that mysteriously cured itself mid-race put paid to any hopes Lewis Hamilton had of fighting for a top spot in the Japanese Grand Prix

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton blames understeer for poor pace

With the championship leader Fernando Alonso driver spinning on the first corner of the race at Suzuka, it was a chance for his rivals to close the gap in the points, but while race-winner Sebastian Vettel did just that, Hamilton could manage no better than a distant fifth place.

"It wasn't so bad," he said. "I pushed as hard as I could through the whole race and it just wasn't the weekend for me, but I still got some points.

"Very, very unusual thing happened which I have never ever experienced before. The car was understeering like it was in qualifying, which it shouldn't have been doing, and then again it was understeering on my formation lap. So I thought it's going to be tough today.

"I struggled for the first 20 off laps, I don't know if it was before the first stop or after, and through Turn 14 I felt this thud on the rear and all of a sudden the car starting turning fantastically.

"So I was able to push and overtake guys, but it was bit late."

That allowed Hamilton to engage in a close quarters battle for fifth with Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1 as he exited the pits from his early final stop.

"We had a bit of a battle," he said. "We have got lots of history me and Kimi so I felt he was good through the first corner. You know he is very, very fair.

"A fantastic driver so I am glad I had a fight with him.

"The tyres weren't going off I was still fine," he added. "That lap that I came in the last time, when I was racing with Kimi, I said to the team 'my tyres are fine, I want to continue,' but they wanted to bring me in.

"It was obviously the right call though, we had a good battle with Kimi in the first corner. The guys did a fantastic job in the pitstops, just a little bit strange car behaviour this weekend."

shares
comments
Japanese GP: Grosjean wants to move on from Webber shunt

Previous article

Japanese GP: Grosjean wants to move on from Webber shunt

Next article

Japanese GP: Maldonado 'never lost' faith as he ends point-less run

Japanese GP: Maldonado 'never lost' faith as he ends point-less run
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021