Lewis Hamilton supports the stewards’ decision to postpone qualifying until Sunday morning following the adverse weather conditions in Melbourne.
Rain began to fall during final practice at Albert Park, and the wet weather persisted until qualifying. Q1 was delayed by half an hour until the stewards gave it the go-ahead, and the conditions proved difficult for the drivers.
Hamilton struggled for grip on his out lap, and a few minutes later he spun at turn one forcing him to reverse his car back on to the track. Although he did manage to get into Q2, the 2008 world champion found the conditions difficult.
“It was definitely the right decision,” he told Sky Sports News. “It was dangerous out there.
The decision was taken by the stewards to run Q2 and Q3 on Sunday morning.
In a separate interview, Hamilton said “it’s incredibly tricky, probably one of the slipperiest circuits that I’ve raced on in the rain, simply because there’s a lot of white lines everywhere that are painted black. So as soon as you hit those the car slides and aquaplanes and oversteers so that’s why you saw so many people going off.”
He also suggested that Mercedes was struggling for pace despite Nico Rosberg finishing quickest in the wet first qualifying session.
“It’s not been a great weekend for us so far, but hopefully we can turn it around tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”