Lewis Hamilton says his collision with the pit wall during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix was unrelated to the championship situation.Max Verstappen. With his Red Bull rival set to start this weekend’s race from the back due to a power unit change, Hamilton had a clear shot at taking pole position.
However he hit the pit wall while coming in to change tyres during Q3, damaging his car and costing him time. Hamilton said the error was “nothing to do with pressure because it really wasn’t a pressure scenario.”
“It was literally just mistakes do happen. I came into the pits, I knew that I didn’t have a huge amount of time and I was attacking. I was trying to get through the pit lane as quick as possible because I knew I was going to need as much time on-track as possible.
“In the previous times coming in the pit lane you could take it quite slowly. I thought the track was drying and the grip was quite good. I came in and just took it a little bit quicker than normal and just lost the back end and slid into the wall.”
The seven-times world champion says his prior success in the sport makes any error seem more significant.
“Of course it’s embarrassing, I’m disappointed in myself that I’d have it but shit happens, we all make mistakes. It’s not what you would expect a world champion to do.”
“But the problem when you have the success that I have is that anything but perfection feels like a long way off. But I’m only human. My dad called me afterwards and we just talked about it and you just move on. Tomorrow I’ll get my racing head back on, back focussed and hopefully bring a good race.”
While other drivers made earlier switches from intermediate to slick tyres during the session, Hamilton had no complaints about his team’s approach.
“I think the management from the team was perfect, was spot-on,” he said. “Of course you could say that we could [have] come in earlier but neither of us felt that it was worth the risk.
“The guys that were in sixth and seventh and eighth it was easier for them to take a bigger risk. For us, I wasn’t interested in doing so.”
Following his collision with the wall Hamilton had to wait while his front wing was during, during which time his tyres cooled. That meant they weren’t at the right temperature for his final flying lap, when he spun again, clipping a barrier.
“They changed my tyres and obviously I had to change my wing, but they had to let Valtteri [Bottas] go. So I was in the pit lane without blankets on for 64 seconds or something like that so I lost a huge amount of temperature in my tyres.
“So just now, just [seeing] the huge difference in temperatures between mine and Valtteri’s tyres makes a lot of sense to me on my out-lap and my final lap. And then just a bunch of things like obviously we had to let people pass so I had to keep going off onto the wet lines.
“So I mean it wasn’t ideal and I definitely don’t feel as terrible [now]. I’m just putting all my energy towards tomorrow, just hoping that the car is okay.”
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2021 Russian Grand Prix
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