Lewis Hamilton admits he knew instantly he couldn't compete in Bahrain GP qualifying
2008 Champ to start Sunday's race from just ninth on the grid
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 21/04/13 10:43am
Hamilton - Not the best day
Lewis Hamilton has revealed he knew from the onset of Saturday's qualifying hour that he would be unable to challenge for provisional pole position in Bahrain.
Hamilton could, in any case, have started no higher than sixth after receiving a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change forced upon his Mercedes team by a suspension failure on his W04 at the end of Practice Three.
That problem - which is believed to have been triggered by a tyre delamination at the end of the Saturday morning session - saw Hamilton's crew plunged into a race against time to fix the car in time for qualifying. Though that race against the clock was ultimately won, Hamilton says he knew as soon as he returned to the track that it wasn't going to be his day.
"We made some changes to the car but I am still struggling with it," a downbeat Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying a distant ninth.
"We had some troubles on Friday with the car which we fixed and going in to qualifying it wasn't looking too bad but once in qualifying I knew immediately - from the very first lap - that it wasn't going to be good. It just wasn't positive for me."
With Hamilton's first on-track defeat to his pole-sitting team-mate Nico Rosberg compounded by his grid penalty, the 2008 title winner will start Sunday's race nine places behind the sister Mercedes. Yet while full of praise for Rosberg's performance, Hamilton doesn't believe it will be impossible for him to end Sunday in the lead W04.
"A big congratulations to Nico, he did a fantastic job," said Hamilton. "It's great to see him doing so well and he is such a strong competitor, pushing the team, asking tons of questions, and driving really, really well.
"I was unable to match him today but, who knows, maybe we can catch him tomorrow."