Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2019

Hamilton says he could have won “easily” after “painful” defeat

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ defeat in the Singapore Grand Prix was “painful” because the team had the pace to win easily.

Hamilton started the race on the front row of the grid but came home fourth, one place ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the team’s other car.

His race turned when he lost positions to Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen during the pit stops. Hamilton said his team should have brought him in for his stop stop earlier so he could benefit from the ‘undercut’ by getting on fresher tyres earlier.

“I knew that we should have undercut,” said Hamilton. “I kind of knew it this morning as well in the brief. I was like ‘let’s just take the risk’. But they didn’t.”

“But we win and lose together as a team so we will take this on or chin,” he added. “It’s painful for us because we could have easily won today.”

Ferrari have now won all three races since the summer break. Hamilton said “it feels like they’re hungrier at the moment.

“So we’ve got to step it up. We’ve got the ability, we’re still the best team, we’ve just got to stop dragging our feet and get on. We’ll debrief, we’ll re-huddle, back in the scrum and come fight in the next race.”

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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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32 comments on “Hamilton says he could have won “easily” after “painful” defeat”

  1. I have to say I felt much the same at the time, despite the risk (or because of it, since it otherwise seemed to be going the way of being a severe slog this afternoon?), and have to agree after having seen the alternative play out.

    1. Great Interview to see. I’m not sure I have ever seen Hamilton be so cool while being so angry at the same time.

      I think he was perfectly right about the team missing a trick because they got to comfortable today @bosyber

      1. I think Lewis should avoid to go directly dog fight against Charles. Whenever he does so he is losing extra place.

    2. @bosyber Yes, and I also agree with the comment that Ferrari are hungrier. Mercedes are showing signs of decadence, conservative strategies, conservative driver choices… all getting a bit stale. Hamilton is the only one added some spark right now.

  2. What shocks me is that it WAS obvious.
    It was not some 50\50 decision. When first stoppers started to run up to 2.5 second FASTER than leaders – Mercedes should have reacted.
    Instead they waited, waited, waited… and even didn’t try to put on Medium tyres.

    Totally wasted their race.

    I have a feeling that starting in Germany their strategists are really sabotaging the team, rather than helping it. Does anyone know if they had any changes on that front? (in Germany or a little before?)

    1. @dallein Exactly, this was very poor strategy call. They actually get the strategy wrong a lot and then Hamilton is able to correct the problem (Monaco, Hungary etc) and then it doesn’t look like they made a mistake. Still, at this track there is simply no overtaking possible and Hamilton couldn’t overcome this strategic blunder.

    2. I thought that they had already used up the meagre allocation of Mediums that they brought to Singapore.

    3. I wouldn’t be so harsh on Mercedes. They made a bet and didn’t pay out. Could have worked tho. It happened in the past and backfired for Ferrari. Then, Ferrari was slammed for poor strategy. Probably, the tyres worked better than expected for Ferrari in the race. Personally, did not expect them to perform so well. Then, I guess Mercedes bet on the fact that VET, LEC, VER will lose a lot of time, maybe remain stuck after destroying their tyres, behind the group of 4 who were equipped with harder tyres and that were set to pit 20 laps later.

  3. Love the honesty, we don’t see that often from any driver. It’s always
    The car didn’t have the pace
    This is the maximum possible result

    1. What honesty? He is saying he had the pace but the team put him on wrong strategy.

      1. Do you mean that he didn’t have the pace, or the Merc strategy was right?

        The race outcome suggests the latter was wrong, harder to say if the pace was good enough (eg, the Ferraris had to fight past the unlapped traffic; perhaps a merc – with less power and straightline speed – might not have been able to)

  4. I agree with him. If they waited for VET, they should’ve pit earlier than LEC at least. Maybe they relied on a chance of SC, VSC or something that didn’t panned out at the right time. It’s the only explanation. In the end they had to ruin BOT’s race, not that he was on fire, but still. Something felt missing in the end for both.

    1. They had to ruin Bottas’ race because hamilton was on fresher tyres by then and it is logical to put the faster car in front to attack.

      1. It’s not the case. He fail attacking Verstappen, so he could gave their possiton to BOT again. But the team loves too much HAM. Poor BOT…

  5. After that absolutely perfect call on Hungaroring, this joke. It was so dumb.

    Sometimes they’re clearly thinking too much into it.
    Today they tried to trick Ferrari into pitting. And pitting was the right call. Hilarious.

    Ferrari left the Leclerc vulnerable to an undercut but their other driver was the one taking advantage. It could easily be Hamilton there.

    1. Particularly dumb when Hamilton was calling for the undercut. As Seb said in interview; Ham was the fastest out there.

    2. That call in Hungary was a high risk gamble that only worked because Verstappen ran out of tyres well before the end of the race. In other words, Hamilton would have won just as well without that extra pit stop.

      1. Not necessarily, the tyre differential in hungary would’ve been lower, hamilton wouldn’t have needed to catch up with him but wouldn’t have had such speed in comparison, and knowing hungary, the overtake wouldn’t have been a given.

  6. Nice to see that no matter how much data they have, even the strategy team considered the best (at least among the front-runners) can make mistakes. More fun that way.

    1. With the number of bad calls they have made, why are the Merc strategy team ‘considered the best’ and by whom?

    2. In general @neilosjames, @gnosticbrian, I would say that Red Bull have had a relatively consistent edge over Mercedes, and certainly Ferrari, in being daring or conservative at the right moments, delivering them wins and podiums in tricky situations, even in their period of dominance, but continuing into their 2nd or 3rd fastest team period over the last 6 years.

      Here as well as in Monza, Ferrari did great, while Mercedes didn’t shine, or even faltered quite badly but maybe it’s just easier when you have the fastest car (yes, I know, Hamilton was probably faster on the Sundays, but, not faster by enough to make up for losing on Saturday in both of those).

  7. I see plenty of 20/20 hindsight in the comments.The undercut worked just fine for Seb but it was much of a gamble, knowing that he would come out of the pitlane behind half the midfield. I don’t think the Ferrari wall was deliberately trying to put Seb ahead of Charles, they just didn’t want to risk ruin Charles’ race with a bad call.

  8. Ok so I am going to blame this on the team but still say “we win and lose as a team” just to save face…

    1. What was he supposed to say, ‘oh yea, when i asked for the undercut I was only joking.’ Or maybe ‘Undercut? What undercut? No, not me, I never asked for the undercut. You must have misheard.’

  9. Mercedes based their strategy on the chance of having no safety cars (that would assist Ferrari’s tyre management). At Singapore. 3 safety cars later… As far as suboptimal strategies go, it was Mariana Trench suboptimal.

    1. If our strategist had balls we would have won the race. If our power unit had a little more power we wouldn’t lose time on a straight even with DRS open . Smh

  10. if my grandma had the balls……blah blah blah

  11. Hindsight – Merc made a bad call. If a SC had come out when they were keeping LH out, you would all be singing their praise.

    Before the 2 SC periods they were looking smart because he was going to have strong tires at the end. When the 2nd SC came out, I shut the race off it because it was obvious how they were going to finish.

    They gambled and it didn’t work out – 4th still isn’t bad.

  12. They ruined Hamilton’s podium on strategy and Bottas to cover up Hamilton’s troubles. Lame.

    Normally Ferrari is this poor on strategy.

    1. Normally Ferrari is this poor on strategy.

      Because, usually, Ferrari doesn’t have the car, sometimes the drivers needed, to make daring strategies work. We shouldn’t forget that their cars’ performances in the last years were kinda volatile compared to Mercedes. Like now: before the summer break almost everybody saw them falling behind RBR with every race, in the last 3 races they bounced back with 3 wins. Quite a miracle. Let’s see if it keeps going like this.

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