Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2021

Hamilton says Mercedes “lost performance on starts” after slipping to second

2021 British Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he was disappointed to finish second to Max Verstappen in today’s sprint qualifying race after being beaten off the line by the Red Bull driver.

Hamilton has set the best lap during qualifying to take pole for sprint qualifying. However he was beaten off the line by second-placed Max Verstappen and finished the race behind the Red Bull driver.

Hamilton said he “gave it everything” during the 17-lap sprint and apologised to fans in the 100,000-strong crowd at Silverstone that he wasn’t able to deliver the result he had started qualifying with.

Explaining his slow move off the grid, Hamilton said “I hit target on my start. It’s just not good when you lose from P1 but we will try and turn a negative into a positive tomorrow.”

“I’m grateful to have finished,” he added. “And tomorrow we’ll fight again.”

“But I mean, [Red Bull are] just so strong in the race. He was pulling away, there was nothing I could do to hold onto him. So we’ve really got to try and be in front somehow.”

Hamilton believes Red Bull have made gains with their starts this season, compared to Mercedes.

“They’ve done a great job with their engine, their starts are really great this year,” he said. “We’ve lost a bit of performance on our start, so we’ve got to work a bit harder to try and improve that because losing positions is never a great thing.”

Verstappen increased his lead over Hamilton in the championship by one point in today’s qualifying sprint, but Hamilton has the chance to make amends in tomorrow’s grand prix.

“I wish we could redo the start again,” he added. “Luckily, we have it tomorrow.”

Despite his disappointment at the result, he praised Formula 1’s experiment with a change of format, despite having been pessimistic of its chances of success before the weekend.

“I don’t know how it was to watch for the fans. I think this weekend has been awesome, yesterday was such a fun day to have qualifying on the Friday, way more enjoyable.

“I don’t know whether that was the most exciting race or not, but we should do more like that, maybe a different version of it in future, because this makes the weekend more enjoyable, I think.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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35 comments on “Hamilton says Mercedes “lost performance on starts” after slipping to second”

  1. He’s right about Friday qualifying being more intense and more fun to watch, wrong about the race starts given Bottas didn’t have any apparent issue off the line. Verstappen also seemed to have put a lot of heat into the tyres on his way to the grid and made it work.

    1. pastaman (@)
      17th July 2021, 20:55

      Are you saying the qualifying would have been less fun to watch on Saturday? I fail to see the difference

    2. To be fair Valterri had soft tyres on. But Lewis could take ownership at least once in a while.

    3. Has never been any good at starts (well the 2016 Mexican cross-country thing took the cake, but lthis season’s Baku was great too). Even lost a WDC because of that. But of course the fault is Merc’s, even if Valtteri’s starts are faultless. Sir Busdriver cannot ever be less than perfect.

  2. He did a superb lap yesterday on pace, traded fastest laps with Verstappen all-race long. Even his start wasn’t that bad.

    Why on Earth does he have to do this every single time he gets beaten? I swear, it irks sometimes.

      1. Doing what Niefer described, that’s what!

      2. Downplaying his machinery or overplaying his opponent so that he poses as immaculate and his cultists as Dave right here can bear his “sufferings” with peace of mind.

        1. Yes, it’s a very unappealling habit. Win as a team, lose as a team excluding Lewis.

        2. Because people like you will call him arrogant no matter what he says

          Reply moderated
    1. Well and in this case he is also not being fair (just like surprisingly Peter Windsor who also seems to slowly fall into a spiral of denial); he made a mistake again. Bottas and Verstappen were clearly better of the line. It had nothing to do with his car but everything with his response time as you can clearly see from the aerial shot. Well, as they say a bad rehearsal may lead to .. so lets see him recover .. or not

  3. It’s just one start and Lewis already saying they improved. Come on Lewis…. You can’t come into conclusions after one launch…

  4. Actually, Bottas had no problem whatsoever at the start, so it was all on Lewis.
    Max is beating him ebery single time they put the wheel on track, on every conditions, despite Merc still being quicker (or at least on par) with RB performance wise, as showed by Bottas and Perez comparison.
    I think this 2021 is really showing the true value of Hamilton’s statistics.

    1. Well, Bottas being on soft tyres doens’t make it quite the equal circumstances comparison it otherwise might have been @liko41

      1. @bosyber
        Max was on the same medium rubber as Lewis, yet he got a better start.
        As pretty much every other time.

        1. In a different car @liko41, what was the point you seem to be shifting around?

    2. despite Merc still being quicker (or at least on par) with RB performance wise

      What a load of rubbish! And please discard the myth that Bottas vs Perez can tell you anything about the overall car performance.

      1. @emma270177
        Actually, it’s quite a diffuse opinion that second drivers are a good benchmark to value cars’ relative performances and I do believe this is the case.
        Bottas and Perez both are pretty good drivers, quick and solid.
        Vallteri is damn close to Hamilton, Sergio couldn’t even see Verstappen.
        That has to tell you a lot.

        1. You tagged the wrong user.

      2. Sorry but I do not agree at all. Bottas vs Perez says everything. The RedBull is outdriven by Max to beat the Mercedes. If it was a line-up of Ricciardo and Perez at RB, Lewis would be very comfortably in the lead for the WDC again this year. And Bottas neatly in position 2. And we all know it, but the most important mental thing of it all is: Lewis knows it too.

    3. I don’t recall Bottas having a better start than Max given he was on the better tyres?

    4. I agree. And the strength of Max too. Crushing all his team mates into oblivion. I am now convinced Lewis wont come near him when given the same material

  5. So it wasn’t him. It was the car. That was good to have cleared up immediately.

    I guess Mercedes must find out why only his car had this problem.

  6. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people seem to have missed the fact that BOT was on soft tyres.

    1. Yet he took the checkered 5 seconds after Lewis.

      1. What does that have to do with the start?

    2. Indeed,and hier start was Ad good as vers on mediums.
      Als,Hé had to let Lewis live. And hold back in the first corner.
      A shame bottas is niet allowed to race Lewis.

      1. But that’s what will secure him the 2022 seat. I suspect that is the deal he’s been given.

        “No more Spain antics, no more passion, be a good #2 and you’ll get another year.”

    3. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people will try to make out that the huge difference in starts was due to the difference between the soft and medium tyre compounds.

  7. 4th mistake this season from Hamilton which is not good imo. I like that he is on the things he is doing like black lives matter or anything but the competition has raised the bar and her needs to get his mojo back focusing on f1.
    I hope tomorrow we will have a good race even though i predict that Max will disappear if nothing happens in the 1st lap.

  8. That start was visibly poor. He has had better ones just this season, so he should be taking the blame he deserves here. This being a W12 with a raft of updates on it, I reckon HAM just realised VER will continue to beat him regardless of whether he manages to grab pole.

    1. I don’t think there is much difference between RB and MB but there is at this point in time to much difference from driver side.
      In one side we have a fully determine young driver who haven’t win a championship yet and in the other side we have a fully fat multi championship all stats winner. The second no matter what he says, he is not fully on it. Do you remember Hamilton before some years? He would had eaten max if he was the same.
      I really think Hamilton needs time to think. The part of the continue moaning is not helping him at all and i really miss Lauda who was like a refrigerator in this kind of situations and he could put Hamilton on track.

      1. Not much difference? I swear Norris in the McLaren was fighting both Mercedes while Verstappen was driving in the distance. Baku it was 1-2 for Red Bull before the blowout on Verstappen

        Reply moderated
    2. He has had better ones just this season

      The Baku restart was his second best ever. Up there with cherished memories like the 2007 Shanghai gravel pit.

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