Lewis Hamilton at a loss to explain Mercedes' woes after a nightmare Spanish GP
"Lost" Hamilton suffers embarrassment of being lapped
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 12/05/13 8:25pm
Although Mercedes had been expected to struggle in race trim due to the W04's notorious excessive tyre wear, nobody could have foreseen the grim travails awaiting Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg on Sunday afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya.
While the pole-sitting German at least had the modest consolation of holding off Paul di Resta's Force India for sixth place, Hamilton endured the torrid ignominy of being lapped as he went into sharp reverse through the field to end the race outside of the points.
"It was an experience I don't want to go through again," a gloomy Hamilton admitted. "I don't know why it happened. I did absolutely everything I did in Bahrain but the tyres just didn't come in and give me any grip. If I pushed, they went off immediately.
"I'm absolutely lost, I don't know what went wrong."
How Mercedes fans will shudder at that admission given that the W04's tendency to eat its tyres is so long established and the team spent all of Friday's practice sessions, and early part of Saturday morning, honing their race set-up before surprising themselves by locking out the front row in qualifying. What followed was a wretched 90 minutes as both cars were swept aside by the frontrunners long before Hamilton suffered the ultimate humiliation of being lapped by race victor Fernando Alonso.
"It seems like others have made a bigger step forwards than we did," the 2008 World Champion conceded. "If anything, it seems like we didn't make a step forward even though we brought upgrades because we didn't fix the problems of degradation."
Team-mate Rosberg described the W04's lack of pace as "unbelievable" having initially managed to rebuff the advances of Alonso and Sebastian Vettel through the first stint before hanging on to sixth place ahead of Di Resta.
"It's so strange, it's so inexplicable," Rosberg lamented. "I just don't understand it."
Back to the drawing-board in Brackley?