Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016

Third “more than I hoped for” – Hamilton

2016 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says finishing on the podium in the Belgian Grand Prix was more than he hoped to achieve after starting from the back of the grid.

After a grid penalty of sixty places for multiple excessive power unit component and gearbox changes left him starting on the back row, Hamilton avoided the chaos in front and picked his way through the field to claim third place.

“It’s more than what I hoped for,” said Hamilton after the race.

“I didn’t really know what to expected after yesterday with the tyres the way that they are, blistering a lot. I was thinking a top ten was going to be difficult but obviously there was a lot of commotion up front and that definitely helped. But the pace was quite good, so I definitely enjoyed it.”

Mercedes made a strategic decision to change Hamilton’s engine three times over the course of the weekend and incur multiple penalties to avoid the risk of Hamilton facing further grid drops later in the season.

“It’s been quite an unusual weekend,” said Hamilton.

“I’ve never really experienced anything like that. So much work for the guys in the garage and so easy for any of them to make a mistake and none of them did so congratulations to them and big thank you to them and all the guys back at the factory.”

With Hamilton’s team mate Nico Rosberg taking the victory at Spa, Hamilton’s lead in the drivers’ championship has been reduced to nine points, But Hamilton believes this is a good outcome given the circumstances.

“Up to now it’s kind of worked out perfectly in terms of how the last races have gone,” Hamilton said.

“A nineteen point gap was just enough going into the break and to come back here and only lose ten points – of course I never want to lose ten points but it could be a lot worse. I could’ve not finished today – there were some drivers who didn’t – and could’ve been in a much worse position.”

2016 Belgian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 18 comments on “Third “more than I hoped for” – Hamilton”

    1. Very fortunate today with the red flag. Thankfully that sort of thing won’t happen next year.

      1. Amen to that!

      2. The fact that you can modify the car during red flag conditions actually hindered Hamilton. Tyre wise Ham (and Alonso) was in a better position than those around them prior to the red flag stoppage.

        1. Yep, I agree. Hamilton and Alonso (and Hulkenberg) lost out… they’d have been in a stronger position with next year’s rules.

      3. Disagree. On the contrary, the red flag, in my opinion, hindered his chance of actually winning this race.

        Hamilton was in a very healthy/strong 5th position during the SC as people pitted to change their damaged parts and tires, Hamilton had 2 out-of-position-cars in front, while himself on the medium (better) tire. Rosberg was on the Soft tire and would have been due a pit stop within 7 or so laps, with no lead out front because of the SC bunching up. At the red flag stoppage, Rosberg was switched to the superior race tire and 2 stop strategy, while Hamilton, for some bizarre reason, was put on an inferior 3 stop-soft-soft strategy.

        1. This I was clearly aware…. I wonder why Mercedes decided to change him to S while the medium tyre was clearly a better race tyre due to the temperatures.

          1. @krichelle
            What’s even stranger is that the commentators and the media are not zooming in on this key part of the race.

      4. It was not the red flag only. Actually with SC in with harder tyres, if guys were not allowed to change tyres during red flag period Lewis had a better shot than the possibility of changing tyres gave to Rosberg, for example.

        The best thing that happened to Lewis race was the outcome of Max vs Kimi vs Seb battle because it excluded 3 competitive cars from the fight for top 5…

    2. He was fortunate but I can’t see how next years rules would have hindered him. Riccardo with his front wing would have lost out, Rosberg would have been just in front of him and Alonso was in same stint anyway. So just lucky red flag.

      1. Also Hamilton had a brand new set of the harder compound tyre on so he could’ve stayed out longer on the first stint.

    3. Don’t you think Lewis deserves a bit of good luck seeing as he’s had so much bad luck already this season?

      1. had already too much good luck this season
        australia, bahrain, canada, monaco, russia,…

    4. Actually the best scenario for Lewis would have been the race to continue behind the pace car until the barrier was repaired. That way he would have had the durable ‘medium’ tyre on for longer and would surely have inherited the lead when others pitted earlier with their ‘softs’. As it turned out he had to make two stops for ‘soft’ tyres presumably because he did not have two reasonably serviceable ‘medium’ sets left, whilst those in front of him went onto new ‘mediums’ at the red flag stop.

      1. Even the blind can see he is the best out their no one can touch him

        1. That’s why he doubled the points of Alonso and But…

          Oh.

          Ignoring that, great, opportunistic race that almost completely removed his engine problems. Great stuff by him and team.

        2. This season maybe, if Rosberg didn’t keep on going backwards in the wet we could have a competition on our hands.

    5. Lewis doing what he always does….mitigate disaster. He’s had the bad luck, again, early this season with mechanicals, yet somehow, despite his teammate winning the first four races on the trot when Lewis had all his troubles, leads the championship. Legend.

      1. Nope. He’s clearly only leading the championship because of his car, and the fact that Rosberg isn’t very good– even if Rosberg did beat Schumacher 3 years running.

        It’s gotta be true, because I read it on the internet!

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