Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

Hamilton: Engine mode error wasn’t the reason Verstappen passed me for win

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen would have passed him at the restart of the Dutch Grand Prix even if he hadn’t selected the wrong engine mode.

The Mercedes driver had to be reminded by race engineer Peter Bonnington to change from ‘strat two’ to ‘strat five’ ahead of the final restart. He admitted he didn’t change the setting soon enough as he led the field around the final corners before the restart, but said it didn’t change the fact Verstappen was able to pass him.

“Basically when you do slow laps you’re in one strategy [mode] and when we go to the start map you’re in a different strategy,” Hamilton explained. “I was slightly late to it but it didn’t make a difference.

“They calculated the distance, I was into it on the straight and either way he was coming past.”

Verstappen switched to soft tyres for the final restart, which moved Hamilton into the lead of the race. However the Mercedes driver was on the medium tyre compound, and was immediately passed by the soft-shod Verstappen, plus two other drivers before the end of the race.

Had Mercedes put him on softs, Hamilton believes he would have finished “at least second.” He led part of the race earlier on but lost time to Verstappen when a Virtual Safety Car period allowed the Red Bull driver to save time while making his second pit stop.

“We had good pace on our one-stop strategy,” said Hamilton. “Obviously we were unfortunate with the VSC. That’s happened a lot this year.”

He faces an uphill struggle this weekend as he will start the race near the back of the grid following an engine change penalty. He took responsibility for the setback as his latest engine was damaged in a collision with Fernando Alonso at Spa.

“The third engine that I had brand new in Spa is still being worked on so I can’t use it right now so I had to take a fourth,” he said. “So that’s my doing and I’m still hopeful we can use that later on.”

He is unsure how competitive Mercedes will be this weekend as the team fought for victory at Zandvoort but were 1.8 seconds off the pace in qualifying at Spa.

“We’ve been making so much progress in the team, we’re closing the gap more and more weekend after weekend,” he said. “Of course we don’t know how the car’s going to be here this weekend. I expect it’s not going to be as good as it was in the last race. Well find out.”

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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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22 comments on “Hamilton: Engine mode error wasn’t the reason Verstappen passed me for win”

  1. “They calculated the distance, I was into it on the straight and either way he was coming past.”

    That is not a reason. Starting too early so you give a nice tow in combination with the engine setting is however.

    1. Seriously, especially when considering the Mercedes top speed that weekend. It was not a foregone conclusion that Max would get by easily. At least no in the first damn corner after the safety car period. That was the worst re-start I’ve seen from a leader in recent memory. Now usually it doesn’t matter, but it was also matched by one of the best restarts I’ve seen in recent memory as well

  2. No Doubt some people will try and say “oh he’s just making excuses” but he does have a point even without the Engine Mode Error or the way Sir Lewis Restarted after the Safety Car he would have been passed by Verstappen not just on the Start Finishing Line but also in a couple of Laps becasue he was on Fresh Tyres and Lewis wasn’t, he was 100% a sitting Duck no matter the circumstances, Btw also Sir Lewis is the Driver and he knows all the information not the people who want to try and criticise him and say his restart was poor or etc…

    It’s so funny that some people think their F1 Experts and they can make silly judgements towards Sir Lewis Driving how about you be brave and an F1 Car Loool

    1. So will you be referring to Max as Sir Max from now on as well, seeing as he was knighted last week?

      I am asking since you seem such a stickler for correct title usage when it comes to lewis.

      1. We don’t actually use “Sir” (or any equivalent of that) in the Netherlands when someone has been knighted. I think that is mostly a British tradition.

      2. Even a step further, max isnt simply knighted, but one step up to officer knight. I guess he’s leading sir lewis in more than only f1wc22

    2. Essentially the reason that he was passed was that he was in front of the rocket on new tyres.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      8th September 2022, 19:05

      So you’re saying his mistake to set the wrong engine mode and his mistake of accelerating too early at the restart didn’t matter because he made an even bigger mistake by staying out on old tyres when every other driver in the field (including his team mate) was demanding to stop?

      1. How much more stupid can you hate-guys get. It was a pre-aligned team strategy to take such a risk. Russell wanted to jump off and they made the mistake to let him pit, thereby screwing it up for HAM. But guys like you just repeat your false arguments everywhere.

        1. Was it pre-aligned though. Surely if it was Russell wouldn’t have come in or Mercedes would have told him not to because the other car was staying out. It looks like another miscommunication between Hamilton and Mercedes.

    4. you mean Sir Sitting Duck

  3. It desn’t matter because Verstappen would breeze past him anyway. But it could matter, as it did in Baku last year.
    So, whatever reason it happened, it’s something he should look into.

  4. He is getting old, it was already showing in mistakes last year.

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    8th September 2022, 19:03

    The engine mode didn’t help for sure but the strategy of going early to give Max a huge tow is what did it. Even in the wrong engine mode, if he’s waited until the line, he’d have exited turn 1 in 1st place. Having said that, he’d have lost the position soon enough anyway because he decided not to pit so it makes little difference….

    1. When you have 103 wins in the trophy warehouse it makes little difference between 2nd and 4th place, so they may as well go for the win however unlikely

  6. There is something in the restart rules after a safety car that I do not understand. I think now cars can not be alongside during this stage, but at some point they are allowed because otherwise Max would not have been alongside Lewis on the main straight when he overtook him. Could have Lewis waited until he were close to the start line on the main straight to re-launch the race and, in that way, keep the others cars behind him up until that moment?

    1. Azanardi, I find the sporting regulations quite confusing on this point. The FIA issued a clarification in April of regulation 55.14 to say no part of your car could be alongside the car you are following ahead of a safety car restart. Regulation 55.14 refers to “the Line”. I think that must mean the Safety Car Line, whereas the rule about not overtaking before you reach the line refers to the Start Finish Line. I don’t have a recording of the Dutch GP to see exactly when MV pulled alongside LH but I assume it must have been after they passed SC1 and the lights went green. Anyone have any better info?

    2. Those rules stopped when the lead car is accelarating after the SC is gone. The Lead car restarts the race when he goes for it then cars may follow like normal but passing each other after the start/finish.

  7. Cannot make a proper start. Cannot be bothered to enter the proper engine mode on time. Gives away the slipstream. What else can yo do the wrong way?

    Dear Lewis: Hold the steering wheel with your hands. No, your feet go on the pedals. Next day we will teach you which way to brake and which way to accelerate.

    You are welcome.

  8. I would prefer to see a stricter implementation of the rule “drivers must drive the cars unaided”. I know they tried banning radio instructions for a few years but the drivers complained endlessly that the cars were too complicated to drive and they needed to be told which buttons to press.

    1. Only critical systems otherwise the engines would blow up if used wrong and those are costly. The rest is done by the drivers …..

  9. Too bad Brundle wasn’t there to burst out his usual “caught him napping” verdict.

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