One-two a “great result” for Mercedes after tyre struggle in qualifying – Hamilton

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes’ sweep of the front row for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a “great result” for the team after they encountered difficulties with their tyres on Saturday.

Having set the pace throughout Friday practice at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Hamilton was beaten to the quickest time in final practice by his championship rival Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver put up a fight throughout qualifying, was quickest on his first run in Q3 and on course to take pole position until he crashed at the final corner. Hamilton, who had complained about his tyre performance earlier in the session, pipped him to claim his fifth pole position of the season, followed by team mate Valtteri Bottas.

“We were quick all through practice but for some reason in FP3 and particularly qualifying, [we were] just lacking pace, struggling with the tyres,” said Hamilton.

“So for us to get a one-two, I’m really proud of Valtteri and the guys, the men and women in our team who’ve just been working so hard. So yeah, this is a great result.

“The collaboration has been just epic with Valtteri,” added Hamilton. “He’s the best team mate there’s ever been in the sport, for sure, and we’ve worked together to work on the set up, get the car to where it needs to be.”

While Mercedes were expected to be the team to beat in Jeddah, Red Bull have been closer to their pace. “Those guys were just so fast,” said Hamilton. “The Red Bull around this track is something else.

“But given where we are, I’m grateful for what we managed to pull out with what we have.”

He expects a close fight between the two teams in the race. “We always get closer in race pace,” said Hamilton. “I think my long run was good yesterday, but they’ve obviously fixed something, whatever set-up yesterday and they’re rapid today.

“So I anticipate there’ll be a close battle through tomorrow, but Valtteri and I will be on it.”

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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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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8 comments on “One-two a “great result” for Mercedes after tyre struggle in qualifying – Hamilton”

  1. Why is it that according to Hamilton or Wolf, Mercedes are always “struggling”, yet they have no problem is crowding the top of the grid?

    1. They don’t crash as much? Just trying to get a laugh, it was a tough session, but they had to work hard for it, along with luck.

    2. Maybe because staying top of the field for as long as they have is not easy – could be described as a “struggle”, perhaps?

    3. I guess you didn’t hear the commentators suggesting that Mercedes was having problems getting their tires switched on, or see the results from FP3. As far as Mercedes and Red Bull are concerned, there are two positions: Winning, and losing. If they’re not at the top of the time sheets, if they’re having problems with grip, or getting their tires into operating temperature– it’s a struggle.

      Yes, I’m sure Haas is tired of hearing about the “struggles” of Mercedes, but it’s all about context.

  2. They did struggle, Hamilton at least was fighting his car and had to abort a few laps. Didn’t see any problems like that for Rbr or Max.

  3. What puzzled me was Hamilton in Q2 spending another 4 laps to set another (fastest) time in the session when his initial time was fine. Medium tyres now 8 laps old, was there some method to that?

    1. i wondered about that. clearly it was intentional. it can’t have been by accident – no way they just forgot to pit him for fresh rubber. he wasn’t under thread of elimination as well.

      unless he pitted real quick between runs and we didn’t notice

  4. Yeah, it was a massive struggle Lewis. Makes the result even more admirable and special and blessed. Bottas was nowhere near you, which just comes to show how good you are

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