(L to R): Sergio Perez, Red Bull; Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes; Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

Hamilton: ‘I knew I’d lost the race before the restart’

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton knew he was a sitting duck at the final restart in the Dutch Grand Prix as he hadn’t switched to a set of soft tyres as the drivers behind him had.

The Mercedes driver moved into the lead of the race when the Safety Car was deployed due to Valtteri Bottas’s car coming to a stop on the pit straight. While Verstappen came in to switch to soft tyres, giving up the race lead, Hamilton stayed out on his medium rubber, which had only done five laps.

However other drivers behind him switched to softs, including team mate George Russell. After the restart he was immediately passed by three of them and finished fourth.

The result was a blow for Hamilton after Mercedes’ strongest showing of the year so far, in a season where there are still yet to score a win.

“It’s been such a rollercoaster ride this year,” said Hamilton in response to a question from RaceFans. “This was such a good race.

“The car was feeling better than it’s felt all year long. And obviously we had a difficult race last week.

“Yesterday up until the last corner where the yellow flag was, I was up 0.7 on everyone. So we had pace. The car was different to how it’s been all year long.”

Having started fourth, Hamilton moved into the lead by making a single pit stop while others planned to do two. But a Virtual Safety Car period allowed Max Verstappen to make his pit stop and rejoin ahead of Hamilton.

The later Safety Car period gave Hamilton a chance to retake the lead. But once he saw the others pitted when he didn’t, he realised his victory chances were over.

“I got up to second, I had the hard tyre on and I was catching them and I was thinking we might be fighting for a win here and potentially a one-two,” he said.

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“Then of course the Safety Cars and all that came through, the fricking emotions were all over because I knew that at that point I’d lost it before the restart. I knew when everyone was on the soft tyre behind me, I knew that was it, there was no way I was going to hold them behind me.”

Hamilton fumed at his team on the radio for not changing his tyres, saying they had “screwed” his race. He apologised for his comments afterwards.

“I don’t want to apologise for my passion because that’s just how I’m made and I don’t always get it right,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I am sorry for my team for what I said because it was just in the heat of the moment.

“But I want to look at the glass half-full. We’ve got so many positives to take this weekend. Yes we got fourth in the end. But the car felt great. If the car feels like this in the other races we’re going to be fighting for a win. And that’s amazing.

“The pit stops were great. This is the fastest pit stops I think the team had done all year. Honestly, I was so gee’d up from that I thought these guys are on it, we’re on it, the strategy is great. But anyway, we’ve just got keep looking forwards and hope for a better race next.”

Team principal Toto Wolff reminded him on the radio after the race the team had chosen to take risks in order to maximise their chance of victory. But Hamilton said they had not debated the possibility of a late Safety Car period.

“At the beginning of the day we talked about taking the risk of going onto a one-stop,” he said. “There was no discussion of like ‘if, 20 laps or 15 laps to the end, there was a Safety Car’. That wasn’t part of the discussion.”

He admitted he was frustrated at missing out on the chance to win. “I’ve been dying to get back in that race and have the opportunity to fight,” he said. “But the day hasn’t come yet.”

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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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...
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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15 comments on “Hamilton: ‘I knew I’d lost the race before the restart’”

  1. And again Mercedes repeated an Abhu Dabi… i wonder when they will learn this lesson really.

    1. No. in Abu Dhabi Merc strategy was perfect, but then Masi decided to throw the rule book out of the window

    2. Look. If you’re the leader and there’s two late safety cars, you’re unlikely to win.

      It’s great that smug and arrogant Horner can cite they got the calls correct – that’s like saying they elected to go back inside and get an umbrella when they heard rain was imminent, i.e. very obvious moves.

      1. Look. If you’re the leader and there’s two late safety cars, you’re unlikely to win.

        You might want to watch this race again rather than comment about the smugness of Horner.
        Verstappen/RBR was leading with a VSC/SC, decided to give up the lead, and still won!

  2. Mercedes can design the best cars possible, but they’re never going to dominate it like Red Bull does because their strategist was never that good. I remember Singapore 2019 which was completely in the bag but they left him out running longer when it was clear the undercut was very powerful for God knows why.
    So he came back in 4th and was stuck. Couldn’t get even P3.

    To be good strategists during a whole season with great cars and drivers is very easy, you can always bounce back at the next race. Now they don’t have the great car anymore, the good opportunities are few and far between and their strategies are as unremarkable as ever.

    1. Their strategists are as good as Red Bull.

      I love the way people airbrush incidents that happened in the past, to make a point about something that’s just occured.

      You forget that in 2019 and again in 2020 Mercedes outhought them with barely half the race gone, when they did three stop strategies so Lewis could hunt down and overtake Max.

      No ‘roll of the dice’ safety care intervention in those clearly well thought outthinking of their rivals.

      1. Those were literally the ONLY times they were quicker on strategy than Red Bull man.

        Look at hungary this year that they love to think they couldve won. They didn’t because they were doing a different thing than Red Bull.

        It’s not even close.

        1. I agree, in the past years merc didn’t seem as sharp as red bull strategy wise, it’s just they had a better car, that covered a lot of their mistakes.

  3. Hamilton still not accepting that there is a 2 man-race.

    Not always him before the other.

  4. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    5th September 2022, 8:21

    “Unfortunately, Hamilton – circling behind the safety car leading but feeling like a sitting duck, deeply hacked off about what had transpired – exacerbated the problem by making an incorrect switch change on his steering wheel which meant he was in the wrong PU mode on the restart. Badly down on power, it was why Verstappen was able to pass him – to the huge roar of the crowd – so early on the straight, without even needing to do much of a slipstream.”

    Interesting information that I read on “The Race”, seems Hamilton not only picked a wrong place to restart the race but also had selected the wrong PU mode.

    1. There is no mention of that additional mistake anywhere on this site as far as I can see.
      1. Runs into Sainz, lucky not to DNF one or both.
      2. Doesn’t make the same call as George for softs.
      3. Restarts far too early on the straight, giving the RedBull a massive tow.
      4. Selects wrong mode for restart giving away the lead easily.

      Not only all that, but then blames his team.

      1. While hamilton seemed faster in this race, if you look for example at spain, I would put my hopes on russell to defend from a faster car, rather than hamilton, just thought about this when you mentioned that hamilton might not have defended as well as he could if he hadn’t selected the wrong mode.

        1. He made a strange move when Russell was the overtaking him too. I thought they were both going into the wall.

          1. HAM didnt nearly shunt his teammate, but his teammate steered left for a fraction of a second right before the overtake. Just review it on youtube and switch to slower playback speed, if your conception isnt fast enough. It looked like it was HAMs doing in live tv coverage, especially due to some sparks from a bouncing of HAMs car at the same moment, but in fact it was RUS who nearly shunted HAM.

  5. At the beginning of the season, I predicted Lewis would never win another championship. Looks like he might not even win another bloody race. Not to worry, because Klaus might not allow car racing to be part of his vision for his upside world. So Lewis may end up sharing the most winning F1 driver record with Michael.

    If Max had been driving the best of the Mercedes, he most likely would have won the championship earlier. But put him in this year’s Merc, and he’s not leading the championship.

    Ferrari keeps making me wonder how they ever won any championships.

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