Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2019

“Gust of wind cost Hamilton four-tenths” in qualifying

2019 French Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton would have been even further ahead of his rivals had he not been blown off-course at the end of the lap, his team have revealed.

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin revealed Hamilton lost four-tenths of a second at the end of the lap due to the windy conditions.

“A gust of wind cost him four tenths to himself in the last couple of corners,” said Shovlin. “This just shows how well his lap was going up until that point, that it still put him on pole by a healthy margin.”

Hamilton beat team mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position by 0.286 seconds. The closest non-Mercedes was Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari which was 0.646 seconds slower than Hamilton.

Hamilton said he was “up nearly half a second” on his final run “but I lost it in the second-to-last corner”.

“The wind has been picking up and it’s quite gusty around the track, so you have to be quite dynamic with how you attack the lap,” he explained. “There are certain points at which you can attack and there are others where you kind of have to give way a little bit to the wind.

“I took a little bit too much into that last corner and the gust just took the back end. But nonetheless I still was up, which was a good thing.”

Shovlin said the qualifying session had been “straightforward” for Mercedes, who took their sixth pole position of the season.

“The car has been good to work with today, the changes overnight seemed to help the balance and the bulk of the work this morning was understanding how to get the most out of the tyres on a single lap,” he said.

“We wanted to start the race on the mediums, so had to get through the second qualifying session on that compound. As it happened, more teams than ever were successful in doing this, but it’s no bad thing that the cars around us will be starting the race on the same rubber.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on ““Gust of wind cost Hamilton four-tenths” in qualifying”

  1. Poor guy has the worst luck.

    Rise above!

    1. #blessed

  2. Hamilton clearly the best in the wet, and now also clearly the best in gusty winds, and high heat too.

    1. and now also clearly the best in gusty winds, and high heat too.

      You forgot to mention that this is a joke… but I’ll do it for you.

      1. You forgot to mention that you’re a joke … But I’ll do it for you :)

    2. miracles every weekend.

  3. SparkyAMG (@)
    23rd June 2019, 6:14

    Since Austin 2015 I have a little chuckle when the wind gets blamed for anything Hamilton related.

  4. And yet he still managed to get pole.

  5. Bottas and Leclerc also complained about a change of wind direction from the first attempt in Q3 to the next. Maybe the wind is more of an issue on an open field of asphalt like this track?

    Plus Bottas stated he lost out not having a tow on his second run.

  6. Most teams/drivers; and both Sky and C4 commentators and Vloggers mentioned the wind. Like any variable; wind, rain, sand, etc. Hamilton; along with Leclerc and Max for example, will benefit. Brundle and Coultard both highlighted Hamiltons steering inputs during qualifying when onboard to show why he benefits from mixed conditions. Rob Wilson the drivers coach and many others have put up tutorials on what these drivers do that makes them better than most in variable conditions. Peter Windsor does a regular feature on this from Barcelona. Showing why the above three can enter turn 3 with the car flat to the ground; whilst most others are still trying to sort out their turn 2 exit.
    Its all out there if you want to learn and appreciate the skills they deploy in variable conditions.

  7. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    23rd June 2019, 9:17

    Why does this make it sound like no other driver had any wind on track at all? Bottas looked as quick as hamilton in practice 2, 3 and Q1 and Q2. Maybe the wind resulted in Bottas being beaten for all we know….

    Hamilton handled it better, but to me it looked like the wind caught bottas and other drivers out more than Hamilton.

    1. Why does this make it sound like no other driver had any wind on track at all?

      It doesn’t so probably just your bias

    2. The wind caught Bottas and others out more than Hamilton because they react to the wind. Hamilton and others take a more dynamic approach. No different to why the same drivers who have less issues with the wind are invariably the same drivers who have less issues with a wet track.
      When the wind hits from the left for example most drivers react to that. Hamilton and a few others have already put minuscule inputs into the wheel before that so the car has the appropriate aspect for when the wind hits. As the engineer explained Ham screwed up at the end of the lap because he was pushing to much. Notwithstanding that Ham still beat Bottas; on what is considered a Bottas track, purely because Ham has that particular skill in variable conditions. A number of commentators were attributing the same skills to Norris over the weekend.

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