Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2022

Hamilton might have won if we hadn’t “screwed up” with DRS – Wolff

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton could have been in a position to win the Hungarian Grand Prix if a DRS fault hadn’t compromised him in qualifying yesterday, says Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

The DRS flap on Hamilton’s Mercedes failed to activate during his final qualifying run on Saturday, leaving him seventh on the grid. Team mate George Russell, who did not have the same problem, took pole position.

Hamilton gained ground on Russell during the race and passed him for second in the final laps. He finished 7.8 seconds behind Max Verstappen, who qualified 10th.

“With Lewis, I think without us screwing up with the DRS yesterday I think he would have raced Max for the victory,” said Wolff. “But ‘would’ doesn’t count in this sport, it wasn’t the fact that I’m just sorry that we weren’t able to be in that position.”

Wolff admitted Hamilton might have qualified higher than seventh if he hadn’t abandoned his final run in Q3 after his DRS failure. He was running on new tyres at the time and had set his only previous time in the session on used rubber.

“I don’t know where he would have landed,” said Wolff. “Honestly, maybe he would have been a position or two up, what that would have changed for today, I don’t know.

“But I can understand that the moment you realise you’re three-tenths down exiting sector one, the frustration is just big and you know you’ve just thrown it away. So the mistake is 100% on the team side for having had that technical glitch. The DRS shouldn’t fail on the last lap of qualifying and maybe that cost him the win today.”

Despite having finished with both cars in the top three for the second race weekend in a row, Wolff remains cautious over the team’s potential in the coming races.

“I think we need to be careful that it’s not specific to Budapest that we just landed in the perfect window,” he said. “Also because the other teams, Ferrari especially, yesterday complained about the tyre not being where it should have been.

“So in my personal opinion, we are still lacking to the front-runners, you’ve seen today that Leclerc on the right tyre is still a dominant force, but at least we are in the same race.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
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24 comments on “Hamilton might have won if we hadn’t “screwed up” with DRS – Wolff”

  1. Maybe & or he certainly would’ve had a better win chance without the DRS issue in QLF, but possibly still P2.
    We’ll never know for sure.
    However, I’m sure he’ll win at least once over the remaining nine rounds if everything falls in his favor.

  2. Hamilton was the best driver out there today. His strategy wasn’t the ideal one like Redbull’s and George however that monstrous 2nd stint, set up the pass on George, whom he completely outdrove today.

    If he got pole and stayed in the first place at the start, then maybe he could have kept Verstappen behind him. It would be still pretty tight at the end though.

    1. Are you saying it would have still been tight with Verstappen starting 10th, or with Max also not having an issue in qualifying and starting near the front?
      Alternatively, Max ‘could’ have had no issue, started on pole and finished 30 secs ahead.
      Or Ferrari ‘could’ have finally got their strategy right and Leclerc wins. We will never know.

      1. Exactly what you said. But bear in mind that both Ferrari and Redbull cars are faster than Merc’s currently.

      2. Yeah I think Mercedes is getting a little ahead of themselves.
        Their strategy was excellent today and they deserved second and third.
        But the fact is Ferrari we’re much faster cars and if they wouldn’t have screwed up, Mercedes wouldn’t have been on the podium.
        And Checo seems to be digressing. He is simply not getting enough out of the car. He should be ahead of the Mercedes, Red Bull must be having second thoughts concerning the extension of his contract.

        1. Broadsword to Danny Boy
          1st August 2022, 14:41

          While that’s true, the reality is that for the last 12 races there have been 4 cars on track that should be faster than the Mercs. Yet despite that, a combination of technical issues, strategy errors, driver errors and just plain old bad luck for RB and/or Ferrari have led to Merc being on 9 (75%) of the podiums including all of the last 6 and having double podiums in the last 2 races.
          There is no reason to assume that can’t continue and given that the gap in performance appears to be narrowing, all the more reason to think that a major screw up or even just a less than perfect weekend from one of the top two teams will at some point allow either Hamilton or Russell to take a win. Or alternatively Merc bring another upgrade plonking their cars performance right in amongst the blue and the red cars.

    2. @cobray

      Can you go into more detail as to why Max was an inferior driver than Lewis today? I take it you heard they were making tricky changes to the clutch on the fly which changed the car?
      Lewis’s last toughest battle was against Mick Schumacher in a much slower Haas.
      Max is not even racing Lewis at the moment.

      1. I never said he was inferior mate. They were almost equaled in fact.

        However, Lewis was more impressive since he had a worse tire strategy(started on medium), pit stops(got undercut), and a slower car. Plus he beat with pace his pole starting teammate that also had better tire strategy and pitstops.

        Max was sublime in pace but so was his team (he undercut everyone except Leclerc from the Ferraris and Mercs) which takes a bit off in comparison. Yes, the clutch and upshifts and management are true and were the reason for spinning as he said. The passes on Leclerc were similar to Leclerc’s on Verstappen in Austria, meaning vs a sitting duck.

      2. -Jordan. max benefited from some luck at the start of the race due to alonso putting up zero defence and let him past, this just shows alosnos spite and bitterness towards Lewis because last year he literally drove him off the track but when it comes to max he leaves the door wide open..
        Also Lewis done most of the heavy lifting when he made the overtake on Norris who went wide into T1 max overtook him on the inside at the same time as Lewis.
        Considering that when Max was behind lewis he couldn’t get into drs range after overtaking Norris(maybe due to clutch synchro issue..) plus he didn’t overtake Lewis on track so it is safe to say that Lewis would’ve got his first win of the season here if he qualified on the top few rows.

        Also max spinning again like a rookie will be dismissed as usual.. if Lewis did this everyone would call him washed up withering under pressure, if charles does this it would be a dnf..
        His spin perfectly sums up this snoozefest season and max ‘falling upwards’ , almost like the 1999 season if MS did not break his leg: one dominant driver in car built around him whilst the other teams fight for who can shoot themselves in the foot every race weekend(McLaren’s cutting edge yet unreliable car that liked to spit Mika into the wall, Jordan was fast but suffered from grenade Mugen Honda engines )..

    3. The strategy M-M-S is, theoretically, faster to the finish line than S-M-M, but the Softer tires are preferred to contain the start. I say theoretically, because in the past passing a car costed a lot of time and tire-life. With the 2022 cars, this isn’t longer true, and having the harder tire at the start often means you can get a decent tire-life offset.
      It’s easy to overload the soft rears with a lot of fuel, but the track was cold and green, so the harder tires were also a bit tricky to limit slip. Had it been 15°C warmer, with a decent amount of sun, the M-H would’ve been the optimal choice.
      Yes Lewis did drive excellent, but so did George, Max, Charles, Lando and quite e few others. Lewis didn’t out-drive George at all: He started on another strategy, and didn’t maximize his first stint on the Mediums but had a big advantage being on softs when it mattered most.
      Today, with the low temperatures, I would’ve proposed a M-S-S or S-M-S strategy for the Mercs and Redbulls if they had the tires available (probably not for the Q3 geys, but Sergio might’ve had a few S-sets).
      Would he have won had he started from P1-4? Maybe, or maybe Ferrari would’ve reacted on some other ghost, and never made their mistakes… (especially on the first stops)

      1. I think Russell has to be disappointed starting 6 spots a head and getting beat by his teammate. I think p3 in that car is a stellar result but he didn’t measure up to Hamilton today. As for the rest clearly Leclerc was a cut above sainz again. Hard to say with McLaren because their strategy was a terrible mess. Checo is MIA again.

        1. Quite so. Starting 6 places up and finishing 1 down on your teammate in the same car does not equal a good performance.

          Strategywise m-m-s was probably fastest, as long as you did not throw away the longer 1st stint advantage that m-m-s gave over s-m-m (which Hamilton didn’t, but the Ferraris did)

  3. Binotti made a statement a few races ago that he was happy to see Mercedes picking up their game as they (Merc) could take points from Red Bull and help them.

    Well Merc has picked up their game but it has been a comedy of errors at Ferrari to the point they are literally throwing points away. Though Charles has made some blunders, he should be close to Max nonetheless.

    Binotti is an engineering genius much like Newey but he is out of his element. They need to get him back where he is comfortable and bring in someone adept at managing. Someone proven.

    I even question them bring in Carlos. Competition can be good to a point but they should have made it clear LEC is their star and brought in a more mature driver as RBR did. Now LEC and SAI are neck and neck mainly because they keep screwing up LEC’s strategy.

    Sad to watch even for someone who isn’t a Ferrari fan.

    But what we are seeing is a team with likely the fastest car on the grid giving points to Mercedes.

    They need

    1. Ferrari is a joke at this point. Major props to Mercedes for what they did after that subpar start of the season. After the first quarter of the championship I did not expect either championship to look like this afther Hungary… Russel leading Sainz and Lewis only 10 points behind? Too many strategy and driving mistakes, Max can wrap it way before Brazil bar a string of misfortune or performance fallout.

  4. F1 is if spelled backwards, but yes, Hamilton would have been closer in the mix from the start. However, looking how good Verstappen was today, I find it hard to believe the Mercedes could have finished ahead.

    1. @kaiie

      Indeed. It’s just wishful thinking from Hamilton and his fans.
      Lewis will need a car at least 1 second per lap faster to beat Max regularly.

      1. Max spun like a rookie and was gifted the win by Ferrari strategists again. What race did you two watch to be gloating after a mediocre performance like that? What Hamilton did today was superior to anything that Max has done all season.

      2. The headline is misleading as the words actually quoted in the article text are:

        “With Lewis, I think without us screwing up with the DRS yesterday I think he would have raced Max for the victory,”

        Of course, with a close competition for race position most people here would be hating on Max, or Lewis about some aspect of the race craft of one or the other.

  5. Yes, I don’t think he would’ve won either, but still would’ve been interesting to see, with that pace he could’ve defended from verstappen if he managed to avoid being jumped in the pits, an impressive race for hamilton.

  6. Could have, would have, should have,whats the point, it is like it is…

  7. How long is a piece of string?… Much ado abouth nothing.. All we do know is from recent races the Mercedes is on a upward trajectory. From history: Lewis always performs better in the 2nd half of the season. The TD from spa may slow ferrari and redbul abit. So.. While yes it looks like max will win this championship (finally a fair 1) unless their reliability keeps them from winning with dnfs etc its going to be a much better second half of the season for Mercedes.

  8. Lewis was robbed of a wing due to a simple DRS failure in quali, If Lewis qualified high up the grid there was a possibility of a merc win due to split strategies and difficulty overtaking.

    Hamilton’s amazing performance finishing 2nd highlights some of Georges shortcoming showing his tactical inexperience. He fried his tyres and wasted too much time defending against charles at the start of the race. He lost too much time allowing himself to be jumped by carlos and max after the first round of pits, yes merc had a slow pitstop but he didn’t need to defend as aggressively against charles because if he let him overtake without too much defending george could’ve kept the gap to carlos in free air. I understand if it was the last laps of the race but why defend-at-all-cost before the first round of pits making it easy for the cars behind to close the gap made no sense?

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