Lewis Hamilton can't change Mercedes F1 car back to what he liked

Lewis Hamilton feels Mercedes' change of Formula 1 development direction after the Singapore Grand Prix has hurt him, but the three-time world champion cannot revert to the set-up he likes

Lewis Hamilton can't change Mercedes F1 car back to what he liked

Amid conjecture about the impact of changes to tyre pressure regulations following the Singapore night race, the Japanese Grand Prix marked the start of a new development path for the team, which Hamilton says has changed the set-up "drastically".

After "struggling" during qualifying in Abu Dhabi and finishing nearly four tenths behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton conceded he underestimated the impact the change would have.

"I knew that we'd made a change but I didn't really think it was going to make a huge difference," he said.

"But already, from Suzuka the car was already tricker from then on.

"You just keep pushing and pushing and hoping for better, but it had already lost the advantage at Suzuka and then from then on.

"[Mercedes engineers] said that they don't believe they made the car particularly slower. It definitely isn't faster.

"I can't go back to where we were before, because they don't want to go back to where it was before."

Having claimed only one pole position from the first 13 grands prix of the season, Rosberg has claimed pole for the final six races of the season since the change.

"We know what's changed on the car, but I just tried to figure out why I couldn't seem to get a comfortable balance," Hamilton added.

"If you look at all before Singapore, there was in the region of a three to six-tenths gap between myself and Nico in qualifying, apart from Barcelona.

"And then since then a lot of time has been lost, so whilst it looks like one side has gone a lot better, it's actually - from my point of view - quite the opposite because we've gone worse."

Hamilton revealed that in his quest to solve the problem, he has dropped a suspension component for this weekend's finale, a decision he now regrets.

"It's worth just over a tenth, a-tenth-and-a-half," he said.

"It's something I wasn't really thinking was working for me, so I took it off.

"I tried something different and it didn't work.

"Today I was off quite a bit, so I was anticipating that I do have that slight loss in car performance.

"I tried to get around that loss and tried to claw it back in some other ways of doing the set-up, so it was about exploring this weekend, and we did it the best we could, with that exploring."

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