Lewis Hamilton reveals Mercedes issue that almost spelt disaster in Spanish GP qualifying

An anonymous email claiming to be from a Mercedes emloyee had accused the F1 team of giving Lewis Hamilton the 'death warrant' of cold tyres as sabotage

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Lewis Hamilton explained a problem with his tyre blankets was to blame for his initial struggles in qualifying for the 2024 Spanish GP, before he went on to take third place behind Lando Norris and Max Verstappen once Mercedes resolved the issue.

The news comes after a bombshell email supposedly sent by a Mercedes employee accused the team of ‘systemically sabotaging’ Hamilton‘s race weekends and specifically referenced sending him out on cold tyres, describing it as a death warrant.

An angry Toto Wolff vehemently denied that either the email’s source or contents were legitimate earlier in the weekend before Hamilton went on to outqualify Russell for just the second time at a 2024 Grand Prix.

“I still feel like I lost a little bit going into Qualifying, or it’s all about perspective maybe they just moved forward,” Hamilton told members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “But just as you start to push the car, it doesn’t like it.

“So in practice when you leave a little bit of margin, the car feels quite nice. But it’s when you start to really lean on it to try and get that extra bit of laptime where we really struggle and I think it’s all in the tyres.

“So you saw in Q1, I was seven-tenths down due to an issue with the blankets and then we got it sorted for the following sessions and so putting us the back foot a bit, but otherwise it’s good that we’re up here and this is the best qualifying I’ve had this year so I’m really grateful for it.”

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes

Hamilton praises change to Spanish GP track

This is the second grand prix on the updated Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya layout, with the chicane in the final sector removed in 2023 to match MotoGP.

Formula 1 fans and pundits had lobbied for the switch for years and the updated track earned praise from drivers in its first test, with Hamilton asked for his opinion 12 months on.

“I think the last two corners are more enjoyable, the last corner is full gas, [something like] 280kph which is amazing,” Hamilton added, “And it’s a really challenging, on the knife edge, heart in your mouth sort of corner so much, much better than the small chicane that we used to have.

“And I think it is better to follow and should provide better racing, I think it did already last year. So whether or not our car is as good as theirs in the high speed, I’ll look at the data but it’s probably relatively close.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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