Nico Rosberg slams Lewis Hamilton ‘excuses’ after Chinese GP ‘disaster’

Lewis Hamilton will start the Chinese GP from 18th (Photo: Getty)

Sir Lewis Hamilton’s ‘excuses’ after another poor performance have been blasted by his former Formula 1 teammate and rival Nico Rosberg.

The seven-time world champion is enduring his worst ever start to a season, butat this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, things got off to a great start.

The Brit qualified and finished second for the Sprint in Shanghai, leading the race until the halfway point when he was overtaken by eventual winner Max Verstappen.

It appeared that he and Mercedes had turned a corner, but just a few hours later all that promise was undone after Hamilton was dumped out of the first qualifying session and will line-up up 18th on the grid for Sunday’s main race.

‘I just struggled – it is what it is. S*** happens,’ Hamilton said post-qualifying.

‘This morning, George [Russell] and I had very similar cars but this afternoon, we are trying to experiment still with car. So I went one way, a long way, and he went the other way, just to see if we could find anything.

‘But yeah, it didn’t work. I’ll give it my best shot – 18th is pretty bad. When I was making the setup changes I was like, “it can’t get any worse, surely” – and it did.’

F1 champion Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg pipped Hamilton to the 2016 F1 title (Photo: Getty)

It’s not the first time Hamilton has said that he and teammate Russell have gone in different directions in regards to their car set-ups, though his fellow Brit has often refuted these claims and did so again in Shanghai.

The 26-year-old said: ‘We’re pretty similar on the setups, we both went in a similar direction, but there’s a small difference. Directionally very, very similar between the two of us but we both made big changes from the sprint race.’

Rosberg, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate from 2013-2016, was not impressed, saying on Sky Sports: ‘George has mostly been in front of Lewis. 4-1 now, in qualifying.

Hamilton lead the first-half of the China Sprint race (Photo: Getty)

‘Lewis tends to say, “Yeah but we have different set-ups and such a big car difference”. That is his excuse, so far this year.

‘Each time he says that, George says, “The last time I checked, the cars are pretty similar”. He has gone again, for that. So it’s interesting.’

The 2016 F1 champion went onto slate his former rival for making costly mistakes on his flying lap, adding: ‘That is painful. That is seriously painful.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso will start at the front of the grid in China (Photo: Getty)

‘You know that the wind is coming from the back. He’d had a great lap until then. It was really unnecessary to push the limit so much.

‘For a seven-time world champion, that’s a mistake which should be avoidable. He had the brake balance too far forward. He lost at least four tenths in that moment, which easily would have put him through easily. That is a disaster.’

Responding to Rosberg’s comments, Hamilton said: ‘It wasn’t one of my best qualifying laps. I don’t blame anything on the team.

‘I’m very strong mentally. It’s not great, it’s not a mind-f*** at all. S*** happens, you know.

‘Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. This car is on a knife edge so it can easily do what we did.’

Max Verstappen will start on pole for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez second and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in third.

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