Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2023

“My heart was in my mouth” during near-misses in Q1 and Q2 – Hamilton

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton feared he was going to be eliminated twice during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver rescued his session twice with last-gasp efforts after falling into the drop zone during Q1 and Q2. He eventually took sixth on the grid.
“I didn’t try to leave it late, it’s just how it turned out,” Hamilton told media including RaceFans afterwards.

The difficulty of bringing his tyres up to the required temperature on the low-grip Monaco circuit left Hamilton vulnerable to elimination twice.

“Our middle sector has been where we’re losing out all weekend so far,” he explained. “So I made a change over into qualifying which made it harder in the first and last sector. You can’t always have your cake and eat it.

“But I struggled to get temperature into the tyres in the session and so it was always that last, last lap that I managed to just pull something out. But my heart was in my mouth because it was like there could be a yellow flag, could be a red flag, who knows? But we made it through and I’m grateful for the lap we got.”

Hamilton revealed he also went back on a set-up change which his team mate George Russell did not entirely abandon.

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“We’ve been trying something through the weekend and it was like there’s some uncertainty with it,” he said. “We went back halfway on the other car, but I went the full way on mine. I was like ‘no, take it off’, and they were like ‘no, no, we should keep it, keep it’. I was like, ‘I’m certain of it’.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2023
Gallery: Monaco Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
“So I said ‘if I’m wrong, then I put my hands up’. And whether or not, I think at the end it was okay, but probably for a single lap, it was a little bit worse. But I think for the race it will be better so it should be okay.”

Hamilton may gain another place on the grid as Charles Leclerc is under investigation for impeding Lando Norris. “I’ll take anything I can get,” said the Mercedes driver. “When you think about it, we are having to rely on others currently. So when you have Checo in the wall it’s like ‘thank you!’”

He said he was pleased to see Alpine and Aston Martin emerge as potential rivals to Red Bull. “Ocon came out of nowhere,” said Hamilton. “He did obviously a great lap.

“I was really hopeful Fernando [Alonso] would have pole at the end. I saw it and I was like, ‘oh, this could be amazing for him’. But that Red Bull was just too quick.

“But that Aston is now almost on par with that Red Bull, that’s phenomenal work. So I’m really happy for Aston and I hope that we can be there soon.”

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2023 Monaco 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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4 comments on ““My heart was in my mouth” during near-misses in Q1 and Q2 – Hamilton”

  1. Do not try to make me believe you have one

  2. Certainly kept Q1 & Q2 interesting by somehow scraping through everytime at the end despite looking like he was going out. Didn’t expect that from him tbh when he lost all confidence with the FP3 crash & yet somehow finished ahead of Russell whose been on fire Saturdays all year. Like him or hate him everyone keeps an eye on him even in the midfield

  3. Hello mr keyboard warrior. What is the point your enlightened comment?

Comments are closed.