• Bahrain Grand Prix - Qualifying

Mercedes investigates Hamilton's lost pace

ESPN Staff
April 20, 2013 « Q3 was unexpected - Button | 'We just don't have the speed' - Raikkonen »
Lewis Hamilton had to change his gearbox after a tyre failure in FP3 caused damage © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton says he has asked Mercedes to look for reasons why he was unable to match team-mate Nico Rosberg during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Rosberg took pole position while Hamilton was 0.4s slower than his team-mate having been 0.3s ahead in FP3. While Hamilton will start ninth after a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change after a tyre delaminated at the end of the final practice session, he said the car had not been handling the same as it had been in the morning and that the team would be searching for reasons.

"The guys are just looking at the data right now; I just asked them because the car didn't feel the same as it did in P3," Hamilton said. "P3 was a big improvement; in P1 and P2 we were having some problems with the car, we fixed them overnight and the car felt much better in P3 but when we got to qualifying it went back to feeling very similar to what it like it felt like in P1 and P2, for whatever reason.

"But Nico did a great job today, I wasn't able to match his pace and tomorrow it's going to be a tough race for me from ninth place but I will do the best job I can."

Hamilton also said that fourth place was the most he could get out of the car as he was taking the normal approach to qualifying despite his gearbox penalty.

"We try to get up as high as possible, try to take pole position so then when you take the penalty you lose as little position as possible."

Asked as to the reason for his earlier tyre failure, Hamilton responded: "I think it's just some debris with the tyre."