Lewis Hamilton elaborates on the F1 Dutch GP situation regarding the pit stop and his comments, while Toto Wolff adds his view.
While it looked like that Mercedes’ Hamilton will duel with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at one stage for F1 Dutch GP victory, the situation with Virtual Safety Car and Safety Care changed the course which put the Dutchman on the front seat.
While George Russell and even Verstappen pitted to switch to soft tyres after the last safety car, Hamilton stayed out on the mediums which was wrong on his part as he not only lost to these two but also Charles Leclerc to end up fourth in the grand prix.
Naturally, Hamilton was a bit livid on the radio with the situation and he accepted it post-race that emotions took over at that time on him since he felt pretty solid in the grand prix. “Yes, of course, it has been such a rollercoaster ride this year, this was such a good race,” he started when speaking to media.
“The race was feeling better than it has felt all year long and obviously with the difficult race last week yesterday up until the last corner where the yellow flag was I was 0.7s on everyone. So, we had pace and the car was different to how it has been all year long. Then I got up to second, I had the hard tyre on and I was catching them and I thought we might be fighting for a win here.
“Potentially a 1-2 and of course a safety cars and all that came so my fricking emotions were all over as I knew at that point I had lost it, before the restart when I knew everyone behind me was on the soft tyre I knew that that was it. There was no way I was going to hold them behind me.
“I don’t apologise for my passion because that is how I am made and I don’t always get it right, but I am sorry to my team for what I said because it was in the heat of the moment. I want to look at the glass half-full, we’ve got so many positives to take from this weekend. Yes we got fourth in the end but the car felt great and if the car feels like this in the other races we are going to be fighting for a win. That’s amazing.
“The pitstops were great, the fastest pitstops the team had done all year and honestly I was geed up from that I thought that yes these guys are on it, we are on it, the strategy is great. But anyway, we’ve just got to keep looking forward and hope for a better race,” summed up Hamilton, who revealed why he didn’t stop for the soft tyres.
“That I don’t know we’ve not had enough time to talk, at the beginning of the day we talked about taking a risk and going on to a one-stop, there was no discussion if with 20 or 15 laps to the end and there was a safety car, that wasn’t part of the discussion,” Hamilton continued. “And honestly when that came out I followed the direction I thought, I didn’t think anyone would stop.
“When I pulled past my pitbox I saw the soft tyres were out and I saw it was happening for George and in that moment my heart was sinking. Then my hope started to fade a little bit,” said Hamilton, who stated his tyres felt all right when Russell decided to pit for softs.
“My tyres were feeling good I think I was closing up. My tyres were feeling really, really good,” said Hamilton. “I would’ve preferred to have been just done the one-stop and been on the hard tyres. The hard tyres were feeling better for me. But then we had to stop and I think I was closing up.”
In terms of the pass from Verstappen, Hamilton clarified that he was late to get on the race mode but that didn’t matter because the Dutchman would have cleared him anyhow. For the strategists, the Brit stood for them and credited them for the all the work they have done so far in the season.
“100% we do have the right team. We have a group of young, super determined individuals and some of them have been here as long as me and much longer in the team who continue to be motivated every year,” said Hamilton. “I 1000% perfect believe we have the right team in place. Today wasn’t an easy call.
“Of course we can always look back at certain scenarios and say we could’ve or would’ve made a different choice but that is not life. We learn from it and move on. I was hopeful to get a podium and I was hopeful to get a first or a second at least but we move on,” summed up Hamilton, as team boss sided with his driver being angry in the situation.
“First of all, it is highly emotional for the driver, you are that close to be racing for the win and then you’ve been eaten up so it is clear that every emotion comes out,” said Wolff. “You as the driver in the cockpit you are alone and you don’t see what is happening. We discussed at the moment are we taking risks for the race win?
“Yes we are taking risks. He had a tyre that was five laps old, the medium, holding position was the right thing to do. At the end it didn’t work out for him but I’d rather take the risk to win the race with Lewis rather than finish second and third,” summed up Wolff, who also clarified on the thought behind pitting Russell.
“First of all, Lewis is ahead, so you always have a little bit longer with the call,” said Wolff. “You can do two things; you can either pit Lewis and lose track position against Verstappen and leave George out screwed or you can pit both, screwed. So it was worth taking the risk.”
Here’s how F1 Dutch GP panned out