Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Zandvoort, 2021

Hamilton: Our car doesn’t like Zandvoort’s banked turn three

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton is convinced Mercedes could find more time from their car after missing pole position by less than four hundredths of a second at Zandvoort.

He said they are losing the most time to their rivals in the steeply banked turn three, Hugenholtz, at the remodeled home of the Dutch Grand Prix. Max Verstappen, who took pole position for tomorrow’s race, was “incredibly fast through the first sector”, said Hamilton.

“That’s been an area we’ve been really working hard at improving with the car balance overnight and through P3 into qualifying, just slowly chipping away. It is a circuit where you need to continue to chip away and build that confidence.”

Hamilton made a significant improvement with his final lap in qualifying to claim a place on the front row of the grid. He said he was “really, really happy with it.”

“The third sector was really on the edge,” said Hamilton. “You saw the last corner, there wasn’t any road left.”

“It’s great that we were able to get that close because obviously they pulled quite far ahead at one point pace-wise” he added. “But I still think if we had another session again, we would all go quicker and I think there’s more time to find.”

Before the weekend began, Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas suggested Zandvoort’s new banked corners would put Mercedes at a disadvantage. Hamilton believes this is a key area where they are losing time to Red Bull.

“It is mainly the exit of two they’re a lot quicker and particularly through three they’re a lot quicker,” he said, putting the time loss at “close to two tenths” of a second on his final flying lap.

“It’s difficult to say exactly what it is but there’s some characteristic of our car that doesn’t like that corner. But still it’s incredibly fun.”

Hamilton completed the fewest laps of any driver in practice yesterday after suffering a power unit problem in his Mercedes.

“I think also having time in the car to just chip away at it, continue to try different lines – obviously there was a lot of time lost yesterday. I lost the whole session so I didn’t really get that practice and get the car to where it needed to be.

“Fortunately Valtteri did some great work yesterday setup-wise, and so that gave us some guidance. But I think we got closer towards the end but still, there’s more time there and I hope that tomorrow we can somehow capture that.”

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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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14 comments on “Hamilton: Our car doesn’t like Zandvoort’s banked turn three”

  1. Go Hamilton go!

    1. I’m amazed he got so close, it looked like they were quite far behind until that magic lap.

      1. oh dear…

  2. Well… There was an infographic during the FP3 or the quali showing that Hamilton drives very differently through the turns 2-3 and loses 0.3s doing so. He does exactly what Nico Rosberg explained in his analysis as the slower choice of going through that section, namely using later and more aggressive braking into turn 2, which unsettles the car going through that corner [because as the car nose-dives harder and lifts the rear, it loses suction thus losing rear grip] and it gives you a worse line into 3 where Lewis repeats the same. Max brakes earlier and longer going into both turn 2 and 3 and despite that is able to gain 0.3s on Lewis in that very section for being able to carry more speed due to better aerodynamical grip, or maybe rather that’s how much Lewis loses in there.

    1. Hamilton can’t let the car do things it is unable to.

      1. @spafrancorchamps
        Of course.

        @Sarcasm
        I must be right with what? I didn’t even express an opinion, you silly. I only gave a description of a factual infographic and an account or a former F1 World Champion’s description of the track. You could be less cynical about my comment.

        1. No you didn’t understand his comment. If Hamilton is slow, it’s the car, if he’s fast, it’s him. End of.

    2. I mean, you must be right. Maybe Mercedes should hire you as a performance engineer.

  3. Well if he actually got to do some laps then he might have improved the car some.

    BTW nice infographic during quali showing that Verstappen gained 2 tenths on Hamilton in turn 3

    However, I did hope to see more footage from that overhead camera comparing racing lines through turn 3 (Hugenholtz).

    1. You do know this corner is specifically designed to slow down Mercedes cars. It’s part of the fia fu#€k Mercedes programme.
      /f1trollosaurus mode

  4. Its like the F1, by digging up all these old obscure tracks, is asking the question…
    Are you really the greatest of all time? Turkey last year in the wet, and Hamilton proved his pedgree.

    This banked track has tested the field, some have been fazed by it, others welcome the challenge and adapt.

    There’s not much between the two cars, even less between the drivers.

    Lets see how well they think on their feet.

    1. Well there are clearly some track characteristics that suit some cars better than others. There is a reason why some cars are much further up the grid on Monaco or Hungary instead of Spa or Monza. Some can hit the kerbs harder than others, etc.

      The Mercedes car apparently is more destabilized by riding the kerbs. So it stands to reason that a banking can cause problems.

  5. Really interesting to see such differences in just one (or two) corners.

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