F1 News

James Allison explains why Lewis Hamilton has struggled in qualifying 2024

Mercedes technical director on why Hamilton has been outqualified in 2024

20 June at 07:00
  • Toby Nixon

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been comfortably out-qualified by his teammate George Russell this season. From the nine races so far, Hamilton has out-qualified Russell on just one occasion. The 103-time Grand Prix winner previously said this year that he doesn't expect to outqualify Russell this season at all. 

At the Canadian Grand Prix, Russell even secured pole position. Mercedes technical director James Allison has explained why Hamilton has struggled to get to grips with his W15 in qualifying. He believes that the Mercedes W15 is a 'troubled beast' which has been hard to push to the limit this season.      

Mercedes' 'Troubled beast' is hard to control at points, says Allison

On the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast, the team's technical director explained why Hamilton could be struggling to qualify well this season. As well as this, he defended the British World Champion's results. "For a chunk of the year, the car has been a pretty troubled beast. It's become a much, much better car in the last two or three races. Lewis has been the best qualifier in the history of the sport. That's not by accident. I think he's been the best driver in the sport. He's struggling to make it stick this year by fine margins,said Allison, who was formerly Ferrari's technical director. 

"The current car type, not just us but across the pit lane, doesn't like being hustled. It's almost like you only get the best lap times when you're not trying and every weekend you'll see someone pops in a lap time in free practice or in qualifying in some session or other and you think well, where did that come from? It sort of disappears in the mist straight after and I think in qualifying it's quite hard to get the best out of the car."

'Not fair' to say Hamilton is disadvantaged in qualifying

It has been rumoured that Russell has been favoured at Mercedes since Hamilton announced he would drive for Ferrari in 2025. Allison denied these rumours, stating that Mercedes works hard to make sure that both cars are equal. "That isn't true that somehow he's got a systematic disadvantage in qualifying. That's not true and not fair, as far as we can make it the cars are identical, and the engine use is identical. If the cars are different on setup, it's because that's what the driver or engineering team on either side of the garage have iterated to, but they have the chance to have identical stuff if they choose," concluded Allison.

Hamilton will be hoping to improve his qualifying performances as the W15 gets better throughout the season.