• Australian Grand Prix

Hamilton takes blame for poor performance

ESPNF1 Staff
March 27, 2010 « Massa rues low track temperature | »
Lewis Hamilton admitted he couldn't get the car to perform © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton took the blame for his poor qualifying performance ahead of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

He shocked himself and his McLaren team when he failed to secure a place in the third session of qualifying and left himself 11th on the grid for the race. Despite some competitors blaming traffic and cold temperatures for their failings, Hamilton took the blame himself.

"Today was a surprise - I wasn't expecting to be out in Q2," he said. "I felt I got as much as I could out of the car, but I just couldn't get the grip from the tyres. On my first run in Q2, I was held up by traffic, so I wasn't able to do a quick lap. I pitted early, got a clear lap, but still struggled to find time in the final sector - even with new tyres. I don't know what the reason for that was. So I didn't have a great day, but it's encouraging to see Jenson [Button] doing such a good job. Hopefully, we'll both have a good race tomorrow."

Jenson Button qualified an impressive fourth in his McLaren but was some way off the pace-setting Red Bulls and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. He said he could have got more time out of the MP4-25 but it would not have moved him any further up the grid.

"After our strong performance yesterday, this morning the car didn't work as well as we'd expected," he admitted. "We lacked grip, and it looks as though the cars ahead of us here have more downforce. Nevertheless, qualifying this afternoon was good. I felt pleased with the car on every lap except the final one in Q3. I don't know whether it was the wind picking up, but I didn't feel the car was working quite as well as it had in the first two sessions. I didn't have the balance I'd had previously - there was a lot more understeer in the car - but it only cost me a tenth or two.

"So, the best lap we probably could have done was a 1m24.4s - which is still half a second off the pacesetters. We're not there yet, but this is an improvement because we're a lot closer to the front than we were in Bahrain. I'm happy with the performance of the team this weekend. We pretty much got the best out of the package we have at the moment."

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