Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

Hamilton: Front row was possible, pole “highly optimistic” without Perez yellow flag

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton believes the yellow flag he encountered at the end of qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix cost him a chance of starting on the front row of the grid.

The Mercedes driver was on course to improve his time on his final lap during Q3 until he came across Sergio Perez who had spun at turn 13. Yellow flags were displayed which forced Hamilton to back off.

Hamilton ended the session fourth, three-tenths of a second off pole position. While team principal Toto Wolff suggested pole might have been possible without the yellow flag, Hamilton wasn’t sure.

“I think that’s highly optimistic,” he said. “I think that was still a bit too quick. But I think front row was possible.”

However Hamilton is pleased Mercedes are in far more competitive shape at Zandvoort than they were at Spa-Francorchamps a week ago.

“We’re much happier coming in this weekend to have a car that’s potentially fighting for a front row,” he said.

“I don’t understand [how] one weekend it can be so far off and the next weekend, all of a sudden, we’re right there. So I think it’s confusing for sure.

“But lots of positives to take from today. I think if we hadn’t had the yellow flag we’d have been hopefully potentially fighting for the front row, so that’s really positive.”

Mercedes’ improved performance in qualifying raised Hamilton’s hopes they will be more competitive in the race. “I hope that [as] we closed the deficit in the single lap, if that can then reflect to our race pace, that’ll be awesome.”

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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
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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16 comments on “Hamilton: Front row was possible, pole “highly optimistic” without Perez yellow flag”

  1. It’s great for F1 to see how close these three teams are (and the rest is also in a nice pack and not too far away).
    The Championship might not be that exciting anymore, but racing and fights will be better than ever I hope.

  2. So he wasn’t expecting pole, but was expecting to be less than 2 hundredths slower than Verstappen to make the front row. Absolutely bonkers.

      1. Yeah. I don’t mean to have a dig, but I have no idea what Lewis means with this statement. Unless he has some kind of digi-computer mind that can calculate to the exact thousands of capability.

        If second was possible – then so was first.

        1. Absolutely, they were all too close, I would say 4th was the realistic max, unless he got a really special lap, in which case even pole would be possible, mercedes was looking fairly good.

  3. I don’t get the Mercedes car at all. How is it possible to be this good today? So far we saw that only on Flat tracks the car can be setup to its very narrow window of performance. We saw today that no matter the bumbs and track dropoffs or full bank pressure in last turn, it was very stable.
    They found something at last in MB or its track specific again?

    1. Track specific most likely. At Monza they’ll struggle to be 3rd best.

  4. Wolf is used to his Mercedes drivers, namely Hamilton, pulling out those Miracle pole laps. so who knows maybe there was that chance. Not bad on a significantly older engine either.

    I think F1 should look at these situations where a team mate crashes out guaranteing their other-half a pole, as their close rivals miss out on a second qualifyng time. There is no reason why they couldn’t have extended qualifying session with that car removed.

    Now im not saying Perez crashed his car on purpose, but you can see how the potential exist for one driver to put himself on pole, and have his obliging team mate makes sure no one better’s him. At the very least Perez should be starting from the pits.

    1. Yeah – I did think that when I saw it was Perez. And obviously the potential is there, it’s just more that it’d be hard to prove that it was intentional. *You’d need to do it better than Michael / Rascasse for example.

      I’m certain in this instance Checo lost it all by himself. And you’d need some very sharp engineers, quick communication and codes on the radio to do it.

      *Ferrari engineers would probably end up crashing both cars and starting at the back with an engine penalty.

      But I agree it’s possible to pull off. You’d need to be pretty bold and smart to pull it off convincingly though.

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      3rd September 2022, 19:33

      Yeah like Perez did Monaco did denying Max pole, oh wait that doesn’t hold up.

      Doubt you would have thought or made some comment if Lewis was on pole and Russell spun.

      So far the only driver that deliberately caused a yellow flag in recent years was a Mercedes World Champion in 2016

    3. Start from pit lane wouldn’t be fair either. He made it to Q3 so you want him to start at the back because of his own mistake? Crashing on purpose is just utter nonsense; only because his team mate has pole this is a discussion. Every driver gets lucky once in a while. In this case it was Max, next time it’s Lewis or Charles.

      1. Crashing on purpose is just utter nonsense;

        Because it’s not like a scripted crash has been done to benefit a teammate ever before is it? But it has.
        Or are you saying that Alonso is the only one that has ever been in that situation?

        True, or not, it’s the first thing that comes to mind

        1. Davethechicken
          4th September 2022, 9:12

          Indeed. There are several examples of it happening before, including FA’s race win in Singapore as you say Steve. I always found that one Ironic after MSC at Monaco.
          It has happened before and will no doubt happen again, when money and betting is involved.

    4. You do realize Perez did this to Max himself in Monaco.

  5. Mexican here: I don’t rate Pérez as high as most of my compatriots, my opinion is that he’s not too happy constantly letting Max by (and he lacks the speed to challenge that), but saying this was premeditated is nonsense; he’s just being his usual inept self.

    1. I’m tempted to prop O’Ward here, but I fear with the way F1 is wrt tires right now, he might not fit, in spite of being talent wise hard to deny.

      Although, as a Max teammate, when Max likes that much oversteer built in, it could actually work for O’Ward there.

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