Lewis Hamilton risks angering Mercedes with tetchy response to Perez comment

Lewis Hamilton's 2024 Australian Grand Prix ended early through an engine failure

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Lewis Hamilton made no attempt to hide his despair with his Mercedes car at the Formula 1 2024 Australian Grand Prix after he was forced to retire from Sunday’s race.

The 39-year-old went into the weekend in Melbourne with only eight points to show from the opening two races, having struggled to get to grips with the W15 and making his complaints heard in Saudi Arabia after finishing ninth.

His woes continued in Australia on Saturday as he could only manage 11th on the grid in qualifying. But just when it looked as if the situation couldn’t get any worse for the seven-time world champion, it did.

After starting the race from 11th on the grid following another dismal qualifying display, Hamilton progressed through the field and was on course to challenge for a decent haul of points.

Even though he was running 11th at the time, subsequent pit stops would have pushed Hamilton further up the grid. However, on Lap 17, he suffered an engine failure whilst travelling at high speed, bringing a premature end to his race.

The veteran helplessly called out “engine failure” on the team radio as he was forced to park his car on the side of the track. When asked about what happened to the car, Hamilton told the press in Australia: “It just disappeared out of nowhere. It was like a split-second thing.”

Hamilton’s tetchy response says it all

Like Max Verstappen and his team-mate George Russell, who crashed into the barrier on the final lap, he would leave Australia with zero points – and the frustration of suffering a power unit failure appeared to get the better of him.

Hamilton had complained about the lack of balance in the car and how it was affected by wind at different times of the day. But even when he underperforms in a race, Hamilton often picks out the positives to build upon for the next one.

Lewis Hamilton looks on in a press conference at the 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain | Mercedes / Jiri Krenek
Lewis Hamilton was not happy with his Mercedes W15 in Australia. | Mercedes / Jiri Krenek

This time, the Mercedes star struggled to find anything pleasant to say about the team’s efforts or his own performance – and his damning assessment of their pace compared to Sergio Perez indicated he was in no mood for a lengthy discussion.

During the race, Hamilton had commented about the pace of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull after passing him with ease under DRS. When reminded of his remarks after the race, his bleak and blunt assessment of how far Mercedes are behind their rivals spoke volumes about his dissatisfaction.

“I think they [Red Bull] have a second [on Mercedes]. The speed that he [Perez] had… I mean, he wasn’t on fresh tyres,” Hamilton added. “But just the way he pulled away down the street, I was like ‘same as last year’.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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