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Hamilton explains possible cause of dramatic Q1 elimination

Lewis Hamilton has suggested that the set-up direction he took ahead of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix played a role in his Q1 exit.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton reckons he went "the wrong way" in terms of car set-up at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit ahead of suffering his first Q1 elimination since the 2017 season. Struggling to unlock pace from the troublesome W13, Hamilton found himself on the edge of the drop zone as the session drew to a close, the best part of a second behind teammate George Russell. Hamilton had expressed surprise at Russell's pace in the sister car, particularly in the first sector of the lap, and attempted a double flyer run late on in a bid to make it through to Q2. Hamilton set a personal best on his final lap, with a 1:30.343, to move into 15th place and out of the elimination zone, only for Aston Martin's Lance Stroll to improve moments later and push him back.

Hamilton offers explanation for Q1 exit

Giving his initial reaction in the paddock after falling at the first qualifying hurdle, Hamilton admitted he had a tough time behind the wheel. "I just struggled with the balance of the car; it's not where we want to be," he told Sky Sports . Asked if yesterday's events had an impact, with the drivers meeting for several hours after a missile attack on a nearby oil depot, Hamilton said: "No. no. We're professional. "We unfortunately just probably went the wrong way with the set-up." Hamilton was speaking at the same time that Haas driver Mick Schumacher suffered a horror crash in Q2, with the German - who is conscious - being taken to the circuit's Medical Centre for evaluation. "I've not heard the news, but I hope he's okay," Hamilton said of his colleague.

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