Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2019

Mercedes were prepared to substitute Hamilton in qualifying

2019 German Grand Prix

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An unwell Lewis Hamilton revealed Mercedes had made contingency plans to replace him with another driver if he was too ill to take part in qualifying.

“I wasn’t feeling good this morning,” said Hamilton in today’s FIA press conference, adding he had a “bit of a sore throat”.

He said the concern over his condition was sufficient for Mercedes to ensure they could call on the services of a replacement if needed.

“We prepped just in case I wasn’t able to do the session. I did the practice and we were prepared to be able to put the second driver in, worst-case scenario.”

Esteban Ocon is the team’s official reserve driver. However Hamilton proved fit enough to compete and took pole position for tomorrow’s race.

“It was a relatively straightforward session,” he said. “Very clean. The team did a great job in terms of timings and getting us out at the right times.”

Although Ferrari swept all three practice sessions, Hamilton said he could have challenged them for pole position even if they hadn’t suffered technical problems.

“As we saw both Ferraris drop out obviously that made it a little bit different in terms of the battle that we had at the end,” he said. “Nonetheless I think I had pretty good pace, I think it would have been pretty close between myself and Leclerc, who knows.

“They were pretty quick all weekend. But I was really happy with the laps I’d done, particularly in Q2 onwards.”

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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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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29 comments on “Mercedes were prepared to substitute Hamilton in qualifying”

  1. What would happen if HAM took place in the quali but was too ill to race?
    Mercedes could replace the driver?

    1. No, once the car has been qualified it has to be raced by the driver who qualified it.

      1. So that would have been Ocon taking the seat for the race.

        1. No, Ocon can’t take Hamiltons place solely for the race. The decision would need to be made pre-qualifying in order for Ocon to be able to race. If Hamilton qualifies but is then unable to compete in the race, he’s classified as DNS and Bottas would be the only Merc in the race

      2. @keithcollantine Yes, indeed, which is why Ferrari only started the 2009 Hungarian GP with one driver, and the same with Toyota in Japan in 2009 just to give a couple of examples of where a driver has qualified, but subsequently not taken part into the race the following day.

        1. Andrew (@bombinaround)
          29th July 2019, 13:22

          @jerejj, I recall the same thing happened to Bottas a couple of years ago. I think it was during his time at Williams. He hit a bump or pothole during qualifying but injured his back in the process. He was declared unfit by the FIA and because he had qualified the Williams reserve driver was not able to take his place.

          1. @bombinaround Yes indeed, and that was the 2015 Australian GP. I forgot to include that at the time of posting.

        1. + 6 times 10 to the power of 23

    1. You need to qualify this comment. If you’re suggesting that Hamilton is faking it… to what end and what is that feeling based on?

  2. And thus Ocon nearly won the race.

    1. That’s an odd way to spell Bottas

  3. Really, possibly couldn’t drive because of a “bit of a sore throat”? Good thing a hang nail wasn’t involved.

    1. Yes, Bill, because I am sure you’d have no trouble dealing with 6G when you aren’t feeling well.

  4. Saint Lewis pulls though for the team once more, yet another miracle…

      1. Hashtag blessed, hashtag perseverance.

      2. Bit rich coming from a VET fan. Still…kudos for not hiding under a rock like the rest.

    1. Lets face the truth Hamilton would destroy Vettel, max and bottas in equal machinery

      1. That’s your opinion, not any sort of truth.

  5. What has happened to early-season Bottas? In an identical car, could not beat an ailing Lewis.

    1. Sadly Bottas 2.0 just can’t beat Hamilton Ver 12.1.

  6. RocketTankski
    28th July 2019, 1:20

    They really are messing with Ocon this week! Maybe we’ll drop Bottas, maybe Lewis can’t race… oh wait, no it’s fine :-D

  7. Well he did sound a bit different when he was on the radio after quali

    1. He also sounded different during the post qualifying interview in the press pen and to me it looked like he was trying to hold down his lunch a couple times. Hamilton is a human being, despite the way he makes it look sometimes, and despite the dehumanizing some people do of these drivers in these comments.

      I don’t comment as often as I might because after watching a great race, the last thing I want to experience is the cynicism and nastiness and the smug bleating of those who’s “guy” has won and the moaning of those who’s guy has “been wronged”. I’d be pleasantly surprised if the comments didn’t match that expectation at least one or two weekends a year.

      Before you erroneously say I’m a Hamilton fan boy, I’m not particularly a Hamilton fan, but I deeply respect his skill and do think he is one of the best F1 drivers we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t mean I want to see him always win. I do root for particular drivers at times based on how much fight and brilliance they show on a given weekend, not based on anyone being “my guy”. I do root for teams, usually the underdogs, and it tends to change from week to week. I’m a fan of racing, period. I want to see the passion and the excellence and the skill, and the more teams and drivers who can reach their best on a weekend, the better the racing.

  8. Drama queen.
    Attention whore.

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