• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton laments 'big mistake' with set-up

ESPN Staff
October 6, 2012 « Kobayashi eyeing podium at Suzuka | Alonso confident in Ferrari race pace »
Lewis Hamilton qualified in ninth place - 1.1 seconds slower than his team-mate Jenson Button © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton admits that "a big mistake" with set-up has left him uncompetitive after qualifying ninth for the Japanese Grand Prix.

After being second in both free practice sessions on Friday, Hamilton looked like being a close challenger to the Red Bulls for pole position, though a lack of a flying lap in FP3 clouded the situation. Hamilton revealed that he tried to revert to a similar set-up to the one he had used on Friday but that it was a move that had backfired.

"I'm not puzzled, I just made a big mistake with the set-up; a big, big mistake," Hamilton said. "When the qualifying starts you can't do anything to change it so you're stuck with it. So we were just driving around with masses and masses of understeer which we had in P2 and we made some changes in to P3 but it went the opposite way, it went to oversteer. We didn't really know what to do so we went back to the set-up yesterday and made a couple of small changes to it but it was a disaster."

With the cars now under parc ferme conditions, Hamilton confirmed he expected a similar struggle in the race.

"Honestly I don't think it's going to be good, but I will do absolutely everything I can with it. Again we have masses of understeer so I expect my front tyres will be the limitation tomorrow - which is usually the rears - but I'll push as much as I can. I'll get everything I can out of the car and I'll hope that maybe looking after my tyres better than the others maybe I can pinch some points off some people."