Spanish Grand Prix – A battery charging issue may have compromised Lewis Hamilton’s final portion of qualifying on Saturday, according to the team.
Hamilton ended up P2 at the end of Saturday’s qualifying, having been beaten by teammate Valtteri Bottas by an impressive 0.6 seconds.
With Hamilton somewhat of a qualifying specialist, this gap seemed somewhat surprising and an explanation from Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin suggested that a battery charging setback may have compromised Lewis from exploiting his full potential: “Qualifying wasn’t quite plain sailing. Lewis was catching a bit of traffic which made it hard to get a proper feel for the car and to understand how to manage the out lap.”
“He abandoned his final run in the second session due to a yellow flag at Turn 12, which meant the battery pack was not charged ready for the final session. We therefore put him out on track first so he could manage his own out lap, but it meant we caught a number of the cars who left late. By the final run, it seemed that the track had lost a bit of pace and there was some gravel down so few cars were able to improve.”
While the battery issue may have been a setback, Hamilton admitted that he still felt he wouldn’t have been able to eclipse Bottas’ stunning flying lap: “I wasn’t quick enough today and wasn’t able to extract the full potential from the car. I have been struggling with the car all weekend, so I will have to look into the details, figure out how I can improve my pace and keep working.”
“Valtteri had a good qualifying session and did a great job, so he deserved pole. Our long-run pace looked good, so hopefully we should be strong tomorrow as well. My starts have been decent so far this year, so hopefully that will continue on Sunday as it’s not that easy to overtake on this track. “