Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Pit lane crash “nothing to do with pressure” of championship – Hamilton

2021 Russian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton says his collision with the pit wall during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix was unrelated to the championship situation.

The Mercedes driver arrived in Sochi five points behind title rival 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.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Russian Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Russian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

49 comments on “Pit lane crash “nothing to do with pressure” of championship – Hamilton”

  1. Leonard ‘Big Lenny’ Persin (@)
    25th September 2021, 17:40


  2. Yeah, but he’s making too many of these little mistakes. Today he just dropped the ball in a weekend that Verstappen is looking to end sooner rather than later.

    It’s funny… nothing is pressure for Lewis, but it is for Verstappen? I’d say both Mercedes and Lewis have been looking on the back foot almost all season, on and off the track. They’ve been very very lucky not to be even further back than they are… They are lucky even after today, because if the forecast is correct, tomorrow should be dry and that gives them some of their advantage back.

    Pressure is on.

  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    25th September 2021, 17:59

    What is then? Just a rookie mistake?

    1. a cookie mistake – crumbling under pressure

      1. ohh that is so good! :D

  4. It is a fact that Lewis has made more incredibly unforgivable and costly mistakes this season than he has in half a decade. If this isn’t “pressure,” then I guess it’s strong indication that he’s just finished as a driver? Which is worse?

    He doesn’t deserve to win the championship. Mistakes like today and Baku are not championship caliber. They are rookie level blunders.

    1. Add to these mistakes the Imola Tosa corner excursion to the gravel. If not for Bottas-Russel safety car he would have finish outside the points

    2. Writing Hamilton off is extremely short-sighted. If you want to find the source of his mistakes, try to think when did Mercedes shift to next year’s development and how committed they might be to this year.

      1. You mean the stopped development and changing big parts of the car almost every race..

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        26th September 2021, 3:17

        @pironitheprovocateur – No-one writing off Hamilton. It’s just a case of trying to understand why he’s made more mistakes this year than he has for the last 5 combined.

        He says it’s not pressure so what is it? Mercedes not developing the car didn’t make him go onto the wet part of the track in Imola and crash, nor did it make him hit the wall today.

        1. Of course he is making mistakes, and Merc too, they finally got competition. Hamilton even lost to Rosberg he isn’t that perfect.

  5. This year he’s making more mistakes than total combined last 6 years? Was it because covid-19 affecting his concentration due to lesser stamina? Or because this is the first time he needs to deliver 101% in every race weekend due to lesser than 100% perfect car? Or Verstappen is getting into his mind?

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      25th September 2021, 18:44

      Max seemingly winning the mind games when himself is not even playing them ;-)

    2. Not Covid-19. More likely needs a steak.

      1. Some people get enraged when this subject is mentioned, but I wouldnt rule this out either.

    3. Was it because covid-19 affecting his concentration

      That’s an interesting point actually. Some studies have revealed grey matter in the brain can increase by up to 30% after contracting covid. Nobody really knows what this means, but for an F1 driver at the absolute pinnacle using all his reaction time this theory may actually make some sense.

      1. This whole Covid excuse is just made up so Hamilton can say it’s due to this when he loses..

  6. When I make a mistake it’s just a mistake when my rivals make one it’s because they are wilting under pressure
    Sir Lewis hamilton

    1. Also, I don’t like to play mindgames.

  7. Yesterday he took out the jackman because of the “magic button”. Today he smacks the pit lane wall and spins. I can hardly wait until tomorrow… yep no pressure..

    1. Lol I forgot about that magic button boo boo yesterday. And now for my next trick…

  8. To quote LH from yesterday when he insinuated Max must be feeling the pressure…”Obviously he wouldn’t admit to it…”

    1. Thought exactly the same =^^=
      Made me laught soflty :p

  9. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    25th September 2021, 18:42

    Yeah yeah yeah, in the last 8 years Lewis has only be really challenged twice for the driver championship and in both those seasons he made more errors than he should.

    It is far easier to make no mistake when driving at 95% still gets you the easy wins.

    So far this season Lewis hasn’t acted nor driven like a 7 time world champion and he certainly has not be dealing with the pressure like a 7 time world champion.

    1. Not true, he was seriously challenged in 2014-16 (lost)-17-18.

      1. 17-18 weren’t serious

        1. @maxv
          +1. At least there are still people here with good memory…

  10. Still waiting for the time when Lewis is beaten in wet conditions. Till the last moments in Q3 Lewis was leading. None of those “new generation Superstars” like Lando, Sainz..etc could match him. They only got a chance when it became changeable conditions and they took a gamble which paid off.
    High Rake cars McLaren, Redbull, Ferrari are also better in the wet as they have that tiny bit more ground clearance so performance of Lewis in the wet in a low Rake car is even more impressive.
    Hope no so silly first lap incidents tomorrow and Lewis is favourite to win. Let’s get the 100th win Champ.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      25th September 2021, 18:50

      Max beat Lewis in the wet qualifying of Spa, so did Russell.

      1. He meant in race conditions

    2. @amg44 are they expecting rain tomorrow?

    3. Hockenheim 2019

      1. Lewis was epic there;)

    4. @amg44 Spa and Imola this year? Hockenheim 2019? Unless you’re still living in 2018, don’t get the point of this comment. Was he not outqualified by a Williams in the wet not 4 weeks ago?

  11. I think this would have been avoided had Mercedes called their drivers earlier to pit. It was clearly dry and the only issue was tyre warm up, which on this track, is clearly a challenge ever since 2014 because of the surface and normal track temperature.

    1. I would also blaim the pit wall for not warning their drivers that that entrace is much wetter than the rest of the track.

      Mercedes should known and advised their drivers of this. At this point its not known if the other drivers were forewarned about their entry into the pits. Hamilton has accepted the mistake without aportioning blaim.

      As for mistakes, there are track mistakes, race mistakes, mistakes does to conditions, and as we have here, pit entry mistakes. Not all mistakes are the same just because they share the general discription.

      As for preasure of the championship, i’d save that’s a judgment call for race mistakes based solely on driver misjudgment. Last’s week crash for example which has now cost verstappen an additional engine penality, was clearly a mistake brought on by the preassure of the championship, yet whose making that point? According to most of the pudents that move by verstappen was completely legit. Where are the headlines to the contrary?

  12. They were up against it time wise. He’ll take it on the chin and move on.

    No issue, I leave it to Hamilton haters to read more into it.

    1. No need to hate him.
      Just to be amused by the synchronicities between what he has said about Verstappend “He will not admit that he feels pressure” and Lewis mystakes today, saying “no no, no link with title’s pressure”.

      oh … if you were under pressure, would you admit it, Lewis ? :p

      just funny.

  13. Hitting the jackman, crashing in qualifying, and then spinning. And Verstappen was not even there.

    That follows a lot of mistakes the whole season. Age and pressure getting to him surely.

  14. I have a personal theory that rather than Hamilton, Mercedes should be to blame for his recent lack of focus. It’s obvious for the past dozen of races that Mercedes is fully commited to next year’s rules and I think this focus, or rather a lack of it, is, rather surprisingly, negatively transposed to the race tracks. The whole team seem as if they weren’t fully concentrated, as if they were fully relying on Hamilton that, despite halting development early, he can deliver and bring another title. If this is the case, I think it’s a huge huge mistake. Hamilton always performed the best when the team behind him was a well-oiled machine. He’s a very clever and also very sensitive character and I think he senses this lack of focus quite intensely.

    1. @pironitheprovocateur What do you mean? The car was a dog in pre season testing, but they worked day and night to get it to be fastest, and when dipping behind, another massive push and since Silverstone they are the fastest again.

      All the talk they’re not focusing now are just the usual lies. If any team has the resources to do two things at the same time, it’s Mercedes, especially since they could start the ’22 car early.

      They’re just not used to a close fight is all.

    2. @pironitheprovocateur
      This is typical Hamilton when he doesn’t have the fastest car by over a second on the rest of the field. Strange for a McLaren fan not to spot this.

  15. In my opinion we’re looking at post Covid Lewis. He lacks in every aspect of performance he excelled in pre Covid times. Although I was 100% in supporting him so far I’d say he doesn’t deserve to be the champion again. If he does, only a streak of extraordinary luck can help him to win this one.

    1. There are many other factors besides this apparent correllation with covid.

      The key factor is Red bull is ‘apparently’ a much better package. This has made things a lot tighter than in previous years. Every fraction of a second counts now, where in previous years Mercedes could play with their advantage. This has a cascading effect on every aspect of the team preperation and performance. You could say their are being exposed now that they no longer have that margin of comfort. for example. Pit radio should have forwarned their drivers on the pit entry conditions, not taken it for granted. Of course its easy to make this point with hindsight. All the same i wonder if the team as people tasked with this role of seeing ahead.

  16. Leave the poor guy alone. He’s getting old. Anyway Verstappen was within 100 km so obviously it was his fault. And that one too. And the one before that. You people are so unfair.

    1. It was Eriksson

  17. Haha, so hard to believe anything Mercedes say..

    Toto said, Lewis did nothing wrong…

    But I believe breaking front wing was a mistake, and not getting pole when you have the fastest car is pressure getting to them.

  18. What did Schumacher do when Hakkinen was leading the WDC after Monaco with 4 wins in the dominant MP4/13?

    *hint* – it wasn’t fly off to another continent on Monday to some hooptie fashion show.

    There’s only been two drivers with the raw speed to be able to treat the sport as a hobby (if they so desired), and they’re both Finns. And say what you want about Michael, he was the driver most committed to winning that the sport has ever seen. The 4 straight wins after Monaco in 98 (after long nights in the garage with the mechanics) are proof enough.

    1. This is hilarious! So he clipped the pit entry wall because he attended the gala? I guess he won on Sunday because he only attended one gala instead of three?

Comments are closed.