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Hamilton suffers shock Q1 exit in Saudi Arabia

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was one of the five slowest drivers in qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, meaning he dropped out in Q1.

Lewis Hamilton has been knocked out in the first phase of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Hamilton struggled for pace throughout the 18-minute session at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with his best time some seven-tenths of a second away from teammate George Russell. Expressing surprise at the performance shown by Russell, particularly in the first sector of the lap, Hamilton attempted a double flyer run at the end of the session with a recharge lap in between. Radioing in to say how difficult he was finding it to improve, 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. However, Aston Martin's Lance Stroll crossed the line seconds later to knock Hamilton back down to 16th and out of Q1.

Hamilton apologises to his team

The last time Hamilton was eliminated in Q1 was at the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix, when he crashed out. With Hamilton having struggled for pace relative to Russell throughout the weekend, he was told over the radio that he had been knocked out. Clearly stunned by the news, Hamilton apologised to his engineer and the team for his inability to get the car out of Q1. With Q2 well underway in Saudi Arabia at the time of writing, Russell's best time is currently strong enough to make it into the Q3 session and ensure a top-10 grid position.

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