Lewis Hamilton has been warned he could be reduced to tears over the issues with his Mercedes car after he dropped out of Q1 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In his interview with Channel 4, Hamilton said the car was “undriveable” and he was “so nervous” in qualifying.
However, David Coulthard joked he was “always in tears” when fighting a nervous car and this could affect Hamilton this season.
Coulthard said: “For Lewis Hamilton to say he’s nervous is a big statement because talent like that is normally able to master a nervous car. A nervous car for me, I was always in tears.
“But for him to say that really tells us that whatever they did on that balance adjustment has just taken him way out of an operational window.”
Hamilton was on course to escape the Q1 dropzone before Lance Stroll knocked him down to 16th. The seven-time world champion will start 15th on Sunday as Mick Schumacher has been pulled out of the race after his horror crash yesterday.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell managed to secure sixth on the grid. When asked if Hamilton could carve his way through the field on Sunday, Coulthard warned that may not be the case.
Coulthard added: “It’s not just going to be easy because it’s a street circuit, they actually don’t have particularly strong straight-line speed. If you look, all the Mercedes powered cars are at the bottom end of qualifying apart from George Russell
“So I think they have a combination of issues, the car is not talking to him.” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed they had experimented with Hamilton’s car before the session which may have affected his performance.
He said: “That’s the second race of the season and another confirmation that we are not where we want to be, and need to be. On Lewis’ side we experimented with a setup that was worse, and the consequence was there was no rear grip and the car became undrivable.
“For George, I think today was a good effort considering we only had one soft tyre for Q3, so a solid job from him. Nevertheless, the optimum scenario for us today was the no-man’s-land between the Red Bull and Alpine, and that’s certainly not acceptable.”