Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton 'deflated' after poor 2017 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying result
PUBLISHED: 22:05 27 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:57 28 May 2017
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton struggled in qualifying for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix as Ferrari took pole position, leaving the former world champion "deflated".
The 32-year-old Mercedes F1 star from Hertfordshire was eliminated from qualifying in Q2 today, as Ferrari’s flying Finn Kimi Raikkonen claimed pole for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix ahead of world championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton’s Silver Arrows colleague Valtteri Bottas will start tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix from P3, after missing out on pole by 0.045s in a tight-fought qualifying session.
Stevenage racer Hamilton, however, struggled for grip throughout the session and was knocked out in Q2.
He qualified 14th after being unable to complete a lap that would have put him into Q3 owing to yellow flags for a crashed car.
Lewis completed a single run in Q1 and two runs in Q2, all on the UltraSoft
He said: “I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me.
“It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster.
“I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had.”
There was better luck for Bottas, who completed a single run in Q1, two runs in Q2 and then two runs in Q3 – all on the UltraSoft compound tyre.
Hamilton added: “Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment.
“I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow.
“It’s great that Valtteri extracted a good lap. We just need to identify why I wasn’t able to be up there too. Onwards and upwards.”
Bottas qualified third with a lap of 1m 12.223s with Raikkonen clocking 1m 12.178s to claim his first pole position in nine years with a superb final lap in Monte Carlo.
Bottas said: “This weekend has been a bit tricky for us. We started well in FP1 before getting a bit lost with the set-up in FP2.
“Then it was difficult to get a lap together in qualifying as well. It takes two to three laps to build the temperature up and find the right balance and feel for the car.
“It was very close today but Ferrari seems to have the upper hand here – they were very strong this afternoon.
“Of course it would be nice to start on the front row but anything is possible from P3 on the grid.
“It’s difficult to overtake here but it’s definitely a race of opportunity. Tomorrow is Monaco, where anything can happen.”
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, admitted Sunday’s race will be “damage limitation” for Hamilton after failing to make Q3.
He said: “Two very different qualifying results today for Lewis and Valtteri. With Lewis, you could see even from the TV pictures that he was struggling with the car and nearly lost it a couple of times in qualifying.
“We don’t know at the moment what went wrong: we took a false turn with the set-up on Thursday and, since then, although we tried to retrace our steps, we never got it back on track for him.
“Of course he was unfortunate with the yellow flag for Vandoorne in Q2, as he was on course to make it through the session, but the car never felt good for him after FP1 and that made it tough to put together the laps.
“Tomorrow’s race will clearly be a case of damage limitation for him and trying to maximise his points score; but he will fight to the last lap.”
He added: “For Valtteri, it was quite a different outcome. The result he achieved didn’t look possible for much of the session but he really pulled out a fantastic lap on the final run in Q3 – and came just a few thousandths shy of a place on the front row.
“Ferrari are clearly in the driving seat for tomorrow but we will be in the hunt, too.”
Mercedes technical director James Allison said it was “an excellent lap” from Bottas.
Allison added: “Clearly we have a significant job of work on our hands to understand why the car was so difficult to drive for Lewis – and to figure out what we can do with the limited adjustments we can make, and the slightly greater freedom in race strategy, to recover as good a result as possible tomorrow.”