Hamilton’s season ‘the worst one so far’

Lewis Hamilton says 2024 has been the worst season of his career to date after finishing ninth in the Chinese Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion qualified on the front row for the Sprint and finished second, but then dropped out in Q1 after making a mistake at the penultimate corner. Hamilton said that he had gone for a major setup change that backfired for the grand prix, and after finishing ninth for the third time in four races – retiring from the other – he admits it’s continuing a challenging season.

“It’s the worst one so far,” Hamilton said. “But we had a second in the Sprint and with better decisions on setup, maybe we would be around where George is, but we just have to keep fighting.

“Hopefully we have some steps forward in the next race. So… until then, we’ll be back at the factory next week, try and position the car a bit better for Miami, and hopefully have a better weekend.”

While he only finished ninth, Hamilton climbed into the points from 18th on the grid but says that was the outcome that Mercedes was predicting pre-race.

“It definitely wasn’t better than expected. We expected to be somewhere around there.

“I thought maybe at the beginning I tapped someone because I have never had so much understeer in my life, so I was turning in at slow speed and waiting, waiting, waiting. So, I thought I had damaged something like some of the others, because there was debris going everywhere at one point but it was just the set-up that I chose.”

Hamilton’s team principal Toto Wolff confirmed to Sky Sports that the setup choice was clearly in the wrong direction when the team was analyzing the car’s performance on Sunday.

“Well the race car was also not that fast,” Wolff said. “You can hear him saying the car does not turn and this is what we’ve been seeing on the data. It just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Mercedes is also continuing what is statistically its worst start to an F1 season since 2011, with a best result so far of fifth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix, and currently sitting fourth in the constructors’ championship on 52 points, 44 adrift of McLaren in third.

Story originally appeared on Racer