Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021

Hamilton says he only did one good qualifying lap after narrowly missing pole

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he only managed a single good lap in qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix, after his team mate beat him to pole position by seven-thousandths of a second.

The seven-times world champion had a “difficult session” at the Autodromo do Algarve and suspects his rivals found it as challenging.

“I think for everyone it’s not that easy here,” he said. “Particularly as it’s windy and quite slippery on this surface. It’s challenging for everyone.”

Hamilton used the harder medium compound tyres in Q2 to secure his place in the final 10 and ensure he starts the race at a strategic advantage. However he said that point in the session was the only part of it that went to plan.

“It was quite a messy session, really, for me. Q1 wasn’t good. Q2 I only had one good lap. I would say in the whole session generally I only had one lap, Q3 was pretty poor. Valtteri did a great job given the conditions that we’re in.”

Mercedes used the medium compound tyres again at the end of Q3, but Hamilton suspects that “probably wasn’t the right decision at the end” as neither driver managed to improve their time. He remains convinced F1’s tyre supplier Pirelli should have brought softer rubber to this weekend’s race.

“It’s just tricky out there. You see us all having to do multiple laps. The tyres are too hard here so it doesn’t work very well with the surface.

“So we have to do extra laps to get temperature [up] and at the end, just didn’t have very good grip so I didn’t do the greatest job.”

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22 comments on “Hamilton says he only did one good qualifying lap after narrowly missing pole”

  1. That’s 2 under-par qualifyings and one big race mistake already. I guess it’s the pressure of a real title fight, or maybe even age setting in.

    1. Goodness knows what Max’s excuse is then – given how young he is

      I think you’ll also find, if you bother to look back, that Hamilton starts of virtually every season off slowly before ‘revving up’ at Barcelona

      1. Excuse for what?
        Putting to much pressure on Lewis?

        1. Excuse for failing to put it on pole due to his own mistakes. At least he had time for a tantrum and to push the cameras alway.

          He’s got a championship winning car, there’s no more excuses.

        2. Eh?

          Bahrain – It’s an error from Max that means he loses his chance for an easy overtake

          Italy – The Mercedes pit shop made an error costing Hamilton at least 2s. Remember he was catching Max up and made an error and yes, got punished. Max made two errors, that he got away with – as happens, but let’s not pretend that he’s was error free

          Today – Clearly an error from Max in qualifying

          My point is, that Hamilton often starts off the season slowly. 2017 he won 1 out of the first 4, to Seb’s 2. Didn’t win any of the first three in 2018 and looked worryingly off pace as once again Sen won two. He won 2 out of the first 4 in 2019 – but was gifted one of those when the impressive LeClerc broke down at Bahrain. And last season opened up by ending Albon’s race winning chance

          So either people have either have genuine memory loss or are desperate for Hamilton to be on the decline or are just on the wind up

          1. Ive said the same before. Hamilton consistently underperforms in the first quarter of the season, 2020 probably being the exception. But then Mercedes out develops the competition and everyone seems to forget by the end of the year.

          2. @Mitch

            At last!! Someone with an actually correct memory as opposed to the strangely selective ones some have

            If anyone bothers to do the points breakdown, they’ll see that probably only last season and 2015, did he get more points in the first half of the season.

      2. ian dearing
        1st May 2021, 20:00

        I think he’s talking about Max as whist Max is level on race wins with Ham, he has less points than Ham and has a poorer qually record than Ham.
        And as a lot of Maxs fans have pointed out today Max had the fastest lap despite his own error. So clearly the RB is quick enough to beat the Merc despite the drivers obvious errors.
        Although personally I think its pretty equal between the two despite all the variables.

        1. Why do you say that when you know full well that Hamilton was fastest lap by several tenths but made errors and has admitted it. Don’t you ever get tired of this revisionism?

          1. More puzzlement

            Max did the best S3 time, but made an error, to such a degree it got deleted

            The brilliant thing about this track, due to the changeable wind direction / humidity in early spring coastal Portugal, is that you can’t take Q2 times and assume they should have been better or equal in Q3. Hamilton was simply befuddled by the difference. What error did he make? Whenever he doesn’t get poll, understandably he nearly always assumes he must have made one

          2. @banbrorace The only puzzling thing here is that you will use an illegal lap time to compare to a legal one, thinking that will pass as a legitimate arguement, and that people won’t understand that Mercedes could similarly use more of the track and thus be on a better time.

  2. I think they were sent out late, as the Mediums clearly required two warm up laps, and I think they only did one warm up lap.

    1. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      1st May 2021, 19:31

      I love it. Track conditions were tricky today, which was great, a real challenge for these guys.
      And we are seeing mistakes. The combination of track conditions and a bit of pressure from the Red Bulls and mistakes start to creep in.
      It’s perfect, Mercedes and Hamilton were used to have it all their way so you never used to see any mistakes from them.
      Apply a bit of pressure and the situation changes, particularly with Hamilton.
      Don’t get me wrong, absolutely great driver, but every time we see Lewis under a bit of pressure, we see mistakes from him.
      Bring it on Sunday.

      1. But what’s happening now is little different to 17/18, when everyone said that he was bucking under the pressure from Vettel

        Even in 19′ he was fortunate to have won more than one out of the first four

        Last season he arguably kiboshed Albon’s career in the first race!!

        Rarely wins the opening race of any season

        Yet suddenly a couple of errors and people think it’s something new

      2. Not sure you’ve been watching the same Lewis as the rest of us.

  3. Don’t worry Lewis. Its Valterri on pole. You’ll be 1st by the first corner..

    1. Yeah, it’s time these two get together in the first corner. Otherwise Bottas might better just accept the situation and focus on bringing in the left-over points. He needs to take a stand (which he won’t)

    2. @knightameer Likely. The teams say this track is all about preparing the tyres and that’s Bottas’ weak point. Also that he’s too much of a team player who will not really push his team mate too hard into T1. He’s said before the season he will be more selfish this year, but I doubt it. It’s too ingrained.

  4. How many cm or mm is 7 thousandths on track?

    1. About 40cm (I make it 41.6cm to be exact, at Bottas’s pace).

      1. Thanks for tht Tom!

        1. for that!

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