Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton’s bad luck continues at the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. Between a busted power unit, a near-miss in pit lane and a borked start, Hamilton’s having a crummy weekend. Didn’t anyone tip him off that 4 is an unlucky number there, and 44 even more so?
Mercedes opted to swap Hamilton’s power unit to give them more time to diagnose the MGU-H issue Hamilton experienced earlier this weekend, writes Autosport. The MGU-H is the part of the hybrid system that converts heat energy into usable electric power for the car. Its malfunction kept Hamilton from setting a quick lap during qualifying.
Hamilton already faced a five-place grid penalty for taking on a new gearbox for this race, so he was given the choice between starting in pit lane and starting dead last. He chose to start at last, which is probably for the best given that a Toro Rosso mechanic was in his path when he went to exit pit lane before the race.
Then there was the chaotic start, where Hamilton ran into more bad luck in the form of a Sauber tire.
Sauber driver Felipe Nasr was trying to avoid Kimi Räikkönen after Räikkönen collided with his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton’s front wing collided with Nasr’s tire, which sent it under the front of Hamilton’s car. Hamilton then dragged the wing in to the pit lane, where his car was repaired enough to go back out.
The one upside of this messy start is that it mixed up the grid in a way that silly qualifying tweaks never will. There’s currently a bunch of very good drivers—Hamilton included—making a mad dash through the field to try and salvage whatever points they can. This race has turned into the best kind of madness after they finally cleaned up all the busted carbon fiber bits.
Currently, Mercedes is playing funny games with Hamilton’s tires. Hamilton was put on supersoft tires on lap 6, and then soft tires on lap 7. They’re gambling on the softs lasting for quite a while, but we’ll see if that happens.
I have my doubts. He may be a triple world champion, but it’s the number 44, man. Believe the superstition.