World champion Lewis Hamilton complained his Mercedes handled “like a four-poster bed” as he slipped further behind team-mate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ standings at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton damaged his car in a collision at the first corner and could only finish seventh as Rosberg made it three wins from three this season – and six in succession overall.
The Briton had started from the back of the grid after engine problems blighted his attempts to register a qualifying time on Saturday but fought his way through the field despite stopping five times.
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“It was like a four-poster bed today,” said Hamilton. “The car was pretty damaged. I’m sure it was some aero [aerodynamic] components. But I think the suspension was damaged as well so the car was flexing like crazy.
“Every time I did a stop I was having to come back through [the field] again and I wasn’t really gaining a lot of ground. At the end there was nothing left in the tyres. But anyway that’s racing and not a great finish for us this weekend but hopefully onwards and upwards.”
Hamilton, who now trails Rosberg by 36 points, damaged his car’s front wing and floor when he collided with the Sauber of Felipe Nasr.
“There’s a long, long way to go. Lots can happen. It is just I don’t have any more jokers available really,” he added. “It was a pretty horrifying race really, but there were some good experiences, there was some good overtaking.”
“The best case would have been a podium,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “Probably fourth was realistic if you’re able to get through the race without any damage. Obviously he was so much down on aero that the car must have felt very, very difficult to drive.”