Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2020

Hamilton admits final qualifying lap was “pretty p***-poor”

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said his final lap in qualifying for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was “poor”, after losing pole position to team mate Valtteri Bottas.

“Valtteri did a great job and it was a pretty piss-poor lap by myself,” said Hamilton after qualifying. “But these things happen, you can’t always get it perfect.”

The Mercedes pair swept the front row of the grid as usual, with Max Verstappen over half a second behind. Hamilton said Mercedes’ performance is “really remarkable” this weekend.

“It feels better here than it did in the last race,” he said. “It was a real challenge out there but I enjoyed it.” However Hamilton said Red Bull looked “very strong on their race runs” during the only practice session this morning.

Hamilton expects it will be difficult to pass Bottas tomorrow due to the configuration of the Imola circuit and the tight gap between the two of them.

“What is unfortunately really with this track is it’s so beautiful to drive but I’m pretty certain you’re going to see a pretty boring race tomorrow,” he said.

“You can overtake on this long straight, but it’s quite narrow, you can’t follow. Once you get into turn one it’s a train from there. There’s no single place to overtake anywhere else.

“So it’s going to be a challenge for people following. The DRS will hopefully give some overtaking opportunities into turn one for people.

“For us that means we’re within half a tenth of each other so to have an opportunity of overtaking I think you need a gain of something like two seconds to the car ahead to have a chance. Nonetheless I’m going to give it everything I’ve got tomorrow.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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35 comments on “Hamilton admits final qualifying lap was “pretty p***-poor””

  1. The location like Ham put it, it is special, the surroundings or the atmosphere make a huge difference. The track itselft might not more than one or 2 great corners but the whole thing is what makes it.

  2. Fourth quali defeat of the season for him.
    Ricciardo got 1, Leclerc got 2, Verstappen got zero.
    Sure, Stewart, Ecclestone and all others definitely had it right about him compared to the all time greats, but I might imagine why Mercedes is not so keen to renew his contract anymore.

    1. Ah…I see. The 96 PPs hes had mean nothing then? Or the 92 wins? The 6 WDCs? No… the 4 PPs hes lost out to valtteri this season will be his ultimate downfall. 🤣

    2. What are u smoking??

    3. I think Max beats Bottas like he beats Albon.

      Hamilton 62 of 69 hybrid wins from the front of the grid, 17/21 wins from the front row at McLaren.

      Max only 4 of his 9 wins from the front row.

      1. I think Max beats Bottas like he beats Albon.

        When Max had decent competition he was outqualified by Sainz and Ricciardo—-and Bottas is probably as quick as Ricciardo over 1 lap

        1. Max smashed Ricciardo in qualifying and races.

          1. Overall, Ricciardo’s qualifying compared to Max was pretty much identical to how Bottas is doing against Lewis. And Bottas and Ricciardo have similar 1 lap pace

          2. Max came into RBR as an 18 year old against a driver that had already destroyed Vettel in equal equipment.

            Bottas wasn’t much faster than a Massa 6-7 years past his peak.

          3. @David Bondo

            Bottas had a healthy qualifying advantage over Massa –

            Bottas also out qualified Daniel Ricciardo pre F1

          4. Alonso was a relatively poor qualifier yet destroyed post-accident Massa (and in races too).

            Massa held his own with Bottas in races which reflects poorly on Bottas. I don’t think Massa had any business being in F1 after his accident he was never the same driver.

  3. Yeh… not Lewis’ greatest quali. Still… long run down to Tamburrello. He will have better race pace than Bottas but hes only got a few opportunities to pull off the overtake. The start being the best of said opportunities. 2nd may not be a bad place to be starting as long as he gets a good start.

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    31st October 2020, 14:58

    It seems if Hamilton just just beats Bottas, he’s pleased with his lap, but most times when Bottas beats him, although credit is given to Bottas, he never seems happy with his lap even if from the onboard it looked pretty much perfect. This time I think Bottas just found that bit more. Bottas most of the time is weak compared to Hamilton in the races, but in qualifying, there probably won’t be many others at all on the grid that can beat him very regularly. Qualifying seems to be his main strength. And given he’s against the best qualifier of all time, that is pretty impressive.

    In 6 of the qualifying sessions this year, there has been under a tenth between them and out of those, they both come out 3 – 3. 5 of these were actually under 7 hundredths so it just shows how close they often are.

    There have been weekends such as Great Britain, Belgium and Russia where Hamilton had a very sizeable gap to Bottas, but that should be expected at times really given Hamilton’s level. Looked like it likely will have been the same in Styria but Bottas did have break problems there.

    Hungary and Portugal were another two weekends where Bottas was pretty close (a fraction over a tenth).
    The only time this year Bottas comfortably outqualified Hamilton though was at Tuscany by two and a half tenths.

    Still, I think Bottas has been closer performance wise in qualifying than 9-4 to Hamilton suggests.

    1. You messed that up straight away when you called Hamilton the best qualifier of all time.

      The way Hamilton struggles to beat Bottas proves he’s not even in the same timezone as Senna.

    2. the best qualifier of all time,

      Most poles don’t necessarily mean being best qualifier of all time. Not every driver before had the luxury of hundreds of chances for racking up the figures. And some of them made better use of the chances they had. Same goes for the number of wins.

      1. @ melanos
        Another way to look at it, as you seem to suggest with ‘better use of the chances they had”, is to consider the number of times the driver has converted his chances into poles. In that regard, Hamilton has the fifth highest percentage after Fangio, Ascari, Clark and Senna. So one could say he has certainly made good use of his chances.


        1. Agreed, that stat makes him fifth. A pretty good qualifier, no doubt, but not the best of all time. Of course you would also need to consider the machinery and team factor, it would be useless being the best qualifier ever when you are driving, say, a Haas. But then the arguing would be endless.

      2. It’s easy to get a pole for Mercedes because you only have to beat one other car.

        They’ve had 81 front row lockouts in the hybrid era.

        Ferrari had 15 between 2000-04.

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    31st October 2020, 15:47

    People complained about Norris not showing Hamilton respect… Is Hamilton showing respect to Bottas here? A tenth of a second between and them and he can’t just say Bottas did well, he has to add that his own lap was terrible.

    1. Errrrr… he said, as he always does when Valterri does well, “well done To Valterri. He did a great job today”. Just rewatch the interviews.

      1. Faint praise. He says that, but makes it clear that his own lap was much worse than should have been. In other words, that doing a “normal” lap by his standards he would of course have trounced Bottas.

        1. So you want Ham; who made two major mistakes inc. hitting a gravel trap on his lap, to be so condescending towards Bottas that he pretends his own lap was a blinder; even though everyone inc. Bottas could see it wasn’t?
          Although he could have acted like Bottas did last week and through a sulk. I’m sure you wouldn’t have said anything negative about that; would you?

          1. True, he did a poor lap. True, he is a better qualifier than Bottas. And true, everybody knows that. But if you really want to praise Bottas for his lap you don’t mention it. By drawing attention to his own poor lap, he is implying: “Valtteri, you were just lucky today”. You know what is done with faint praise.

          2. @melonos. You mean like Max did? Yea, I noticed that as well.

    2. @peterbaldwin you obviously never listem to hamilton during the interviews. Bottas never ever acknowledges lewis but lewis almost always and specifically today acknowledged bottas for his good lap. How then can lewis be disrespective towards bottas. If the first sentences in his response is to congratulate botttas.

    3. you must have selective deafness–as Hamilton said Bottas did a great job

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        31st October 2020, 18:53

        To be fair, Bottas doing a great job is a programmed message in hamilton’s head.
        He says it all the time, even when Bottas finished 30 plus seconds behind him last season.

        It only sometimes feels like he really means it. A lot of the time he says it doesn’t even make sense as Bottas had clearly been poor. but most of the time Hamilton has been genuinely beaten by Bottas in qualifying, Hamilton suddenly seems to be against his own lap even if it was clean. He does give Bottas praise, but as I said, it is the same words he uses all the time that don’t feel like they mean much. Today was one of those days that I think he possibly wasn’t sure how Bottas found the extra time, but he never admits that. Bottas usually does make it clear that Hamilton just manages to find pace he didn’t find when he gets beaten, and does often admit that he was trying his hardest despite the gap. This makes it clear that he does admit that Hamilton is just better. But you never seem to hear Hamilton say that Bottas managed to get more out of the car when he’s beaten him in qualifying.

  6. Go Lewis go. Make tomorrow count please? Tq

  7. I’m confused as to why Hamilton’s barely even a swear word” p***-poor” comment needs to be sensured, when Norris’s C-word was happily printed in all its glory last week. Strange way to work.

    1. The distinction here lies between headline and body text.

  8. Even after a p*** poor lap for him and a lap which shook Bottas, the difference is only 1 tenth. Doesn’t bode well for Bottas if Hamilton gets in the groove tomorrow.

  9. Even after a poor lap for him and a lap which shook Bottas, the difference is only 1 tenth. Doesn’t bode well for Bottas if Hamilton gets in the groove tomorrow.

    1. I’m expecting Ham to take it easy tomorrow unless he gets a good start. But if Max makes a good start from the clean side I can’t see Ham wanting to challenge him through the first corner. I think Ham is in championship mode for this race.

  10. I’m expecting Ham to take it easy tomorrow unless he gets a good start. But if Max makes a good start from the clean side I can’t see Ham wanting to challenge him through the first corner. I think Ham is in championship mode for this race.

  11. Ho hum……Big it up for the Hamilton knockers & mockers?

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