What went wrong for Hamilton in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix?

Senna may have been the best driver in Formula One history, but that doesn’t mean he was the best qualifier. The Brazilian started the Monaco Grand Prix from pole position in 1989, the year after Ayrton Senna won his first world title, but he only managed to start the race from first position on three occasions. The rest of the time, he was always in the rear of the field and he got out of the 27 cars that made it to the finish in 1971.

It is a pretty well known fact that the weather played a huge role in F1 Qualifying today. Many other drivers suffered from the rain, but in Hamilton’s case, it was more than just that. He also had his issues with his car, as the team’s new front wing did not survive the pressures of the track.

“Hamilton has been a Mercedes driver since 2013, so naturally, he has the undying loyalty of the team. But there is a limit to that loyalty, as there is to a man’s strength. After dominating the sport from 2012-2014, Hamilton tired in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and let’s not even talk about 2018. For Monaco, he was a shadow of the driver he had been in 2015 and 2016. Even Mercedes’ two best drivers this weekend, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, struggled to beat the Renault-powered Red Bulls.

– Almost as surprising as Ferrari’s pole position in Monaco was how hard world championship leader Lewis Hamilton struggled.

The Mercedes driver will start Sunday’s race from seventh on the grid after sitting 0.749 seconds off Charles Leclerc’s pole position in qualifying.

Hamilton qualified outside the top two for the first time this year. It was his worst qualifying position since his hydraulics failed during qualifying for the 2018 German Grand Prix and he started at the back of the grid.

Asked what went wrong, Hamilton said he had failed to get the tyres at the right temperature to allow them to perform optimally.

The problem today was the tires, they weren’t working – they were sliding, he said.

I’m going to have heavy discussions with my engineers tonight or maybe after the weekend, because there are things that should have been done, but aren’t.

We will learn from this and go into the race stronger together.

Lewis Hamilton starts the Monaco Grand Prix in seventh place. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images

Asked what went wrong, Hamilton added: I can’t say I don’t.

But like I said, from my perspective, it’s a little frustrating, but it is what it is.

I can’t say too much about that. At the end of the day, it’s a team.

I don’t want to criticize the team either, but behind closed doors I will. We have to work harder.

Hamilton said his Mercedes team chose the wrong direction for the set-up after Thursday’s practice and deteriorated the car during the final tests before qualifying.

We made a lot of changes to the car after FP3, because FP3 was a disaster and that was the result of the work we did over the last day or two.

All the wrong way. He missed the ball completely.

We then made some changes to try and get the car to a different place, but the car was worse than ever.

We got really lost on Thursday.

Team boss Toto Wolff said the conversation with Hamilton after qualifying was harsh and brutally honest.

We had a very productive and difficult discussion, and it’s days like this that we learn the most, Wolff said.

There is a brutal honesty and transparency to this team, and we haven’t done everything right. It’s not yet entirely clear how all the set-up options interacted, but I’d say we were short of grip in each of those runs, and that was probably due to tyre temperature.

We’ll have to analyse that too, but one thing is for sure, we weren’t competitive. We didn’t give Lewis the right car to have the confidence and grip on the track that he wanted.

Wolff admitted that the team had chosen the direction of the line-up against Hamilton’s advice.

There’s a certain aspect of the tire warm-up that we discussed this morning and Thursday night that could have gone in a different direction, and a direction he would have liked to go in but didn’t, Wolff said.

That was the crux of our discussions now [at the inventory].

Wolff said he doesn’t mind Hamilton blaming the team when things go wrong.

We want drivers to voice their opinions, and there has been a lot of dissatisfaction, he said. When you finish qualifying in Monaco on P7, you know it’s the end of the weekend.

It’s perfectly normal to express dissatisfaction, and no one on the team is offended because we express it the other way.

He is the first to admit and apologise when things go wrong, he has done that publicly and privately, but as a group that is one of our great strengths that has made us champions in the past – we can take it personally.

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