Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Hamilton: “Lucky” wind direction change helped me keep Bottas behind

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said the wind blew in his favour during the Belgian Grand Prix and helped him keep team mate Valtteri Bottas behind.

The Mercedes driver kept his lead through the long, flat-out runs towards Les Combes at the start of today’s race. Hamilton said the drivers chasing him, led by Bottas, would have had a greater advantage from his slipstream had the wind been blowing in its usual direction.

“Today we were lucky because in previous years we’ve had a headwind into turn five [Les Combes],” Hamilton explained. “So you were obviously more draggy, the car behind gets a better tow. This weekend there’s a tailwind so that really helped in keeping Valtteri behind.”

Hamilton said a slightly slow exit from the La Source hairpin on lap one also made it more difficult for Bottas to pass him.

“On the start itself I had a big snap out of turn one and Valtteri was all over me. And as I had wheelspin I had a de-rated shift as well. So that wasn’t particularly exciting.

“So I already had to block coming out of turn one. The goal is to go in in the lead and then bridge a gap to the car behind.

“But in this instance it worked out to my benefit, to be honest, the mistake – well, not a mistake, the snap, it’s just the tyres, the way they are. It meant that Valtteri didn’t have a gap behind to slingshot alongside me. That was definitely a stressful moment of the race.”

A Safety Car period in the race gave Hamilton’s rivals another chance to attack him.

“At the restart, it’s horrible when you get the Safety Car,” he said. “I’m glad that everyone’s safe but controlling it at the front, trying to bridge the gap on the restart to the car behind – because that’s another opportunity for them to slipstream you – is not easy.”

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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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...
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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10 comments on “Hamilton: “Lucky” wind direction change helped me keep Bottas behind”

  1. I noticed he was a bit slow out of La Source but thought he’d done it on purpose, precisely to slow down VB and maybe leave him worrying more about Verstappen and Ricciardo :oP
    Interesting about the tailwind too. But basically, after that, the race for the frontrunners looked over.

    1. He did do that on purpose, to Vettel, was it last year or the year before. Backed off into Eau Rouge so when Seb pulled out of his slipstream up Kemmel he was just doing the same speed. Nice. This year Lewis lost a little out of La Source so Bottas was tucked up, then gained through Eau Rouge, hard to be quite sure if that was forcing Valtteri to have a little lift at exactly the wrong moment…

      1. @zann Yeah, I’d be a bit sceptical about the snap explanation, he can’t really admit to slowing down Bottas deliberately even if he did.

  2. Phew, that was lucky. If Bottas had managed to get past him we might have been subjected to a tiny bit of excitement. Thankfully we were spared from that.

    1. @keithedin Thankfully :o)
      I’d have to see it again, but it looked like Bottas wavered between staying behind for the slipstream on the Kemmel Straight and moving to go alongside Hamilton out of La Source and Eau Rouge. Which is probably what he should have tried, they could have drag raced to the top.

      1. Indeed. But when have you ever seen Lewis in lose out in a drag race with a teammate?

  3. John (@johnnyslimane)
    30th August 2020, 18:12

    Funny, I thought it was the message from the team telling Bottas he wasn’t allowed to race that kept Bottas behind.

  4. Interesting term, “bridging the gap” he calls it. It’s like the opposite of breaking the tow.

  5. Ya ya ya. All LH wins are lucky. Always got lucky to wins. LOL!

  6. To me, it appeared that Lewis pulled ahead during each turn.

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