Hamilton: 'I drove like an idiot'
JUST ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD? Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton tried to iron out a speedbump at Monza during 2013 first practice. The start of his Italian problems? Image: AFP
Author: ALA BALDWIN
Quite an admission from Lewis Hamilton after qualifying 12th for the Italian F1 GP at Monza. But his boss had an explanation for his Q3 disaster.
MONZA, Italy - Lewis Hamilton told millions of TV viewers around the world on Saturday that he "drove like an idiot" during qualifying to finish 12th on the grid at Monza instead of getting the fifth pole in a row that he had wanted.
It was his worst qualifying performance since 2010 if one doesn't include the 2012 Spanish GP where a penalty sent him to the back.
As Wheels24 tweet immediately after the race told followers: ""I just drove like an idiot," the Mercedes driver admitted, while sounding almost tearful. He added: "That's the worst I've driven for a long, long time. I'm sorry to the team."
EXCUSED BY BRAWN
He continued: "I just didn't drive well. There's not really much more to say. I was quick in Q1 (the first phase) and then I don't know. I'll do whatever I can from where I am but it's going to be tough.
However Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn excused his driver to some extent: "Lewis was looking OK and unfortunately caught a kerb and damaged the car underneath and broke the floor. We didn't realise the consequences of that until a bit later in the session. It was not repairable.
"Lewis is often his own hardest critic. It's quite endearing that he's willing to make that sort of statement."
Hamilton, however, responded by saying the damage had made little difference to his earlier assessment.
"I still feel like I didn't do a spectacular job today," he said. "I did have damage to the car. The engineers said we'd lost quite a lot of downforce, which would explain the lack of pace... but again that's due to the mistake that I made earlier in the session.
"I think someone said it's 67 races since I've not qualified in Q3 so I guess I can be a little bit easy on myself... but I just want to achieve the best for the team. Sometimes when you have those moments you just feel like you've let people down."
PENALTY FOR SUTIL
Hamilton, 2012 winner at Monza from pole, was also held up by Force India's Adrian Sutil who was handed a three-place penalty for Sunday's race.
Brawn blamed the team more than the German driver, though. "From what I understand, the team didn't advise Adrian that Lewis was coming up behind until he was on top of him. It doesn't sound to me like Adrian was particularly at fault."
The stewards ruled that the impeding was not intentional but said it was the driver's responsibility to be aware of the approaching car.