Lewis Hamilton somewhat recovered from Lap 1 tussle in F1 Abu Dhabi GP but it ended in a DNF as Carlos Sainz talks of cheeky move.

It was almost a deja vu for Mercedes’ Hamilton at the start of F1 Abu Dhabi GP when he collided with Ferrari’s Sainz at the same corner as did with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 2021. It was a similar way the Spaniard tried an inside move on the Brit.

This forced Hamilton onto the run-off and flying over the kerb – perhaps damaging his underside. The stewards cleared of ‘forcing another driver out’ case, and started investigating about the Brit ‘gaining an advantage’ by cutting the corner.

Before a decision could be made, Hamilton was instructed by Mercedes to give up which he did strategically as he retook the place soon. But Sainz fought back to retake the place and stayed in front of him, but the tyre use forced him to switch to a two-stop.

He couldn’t up there to put on the pressure on Sergio Perez, who eventually lost to Charles Leclerc. For Hamilton, it was the worst possible end to an average season by his standards where he was sixth and got beaten by George Russell too.

Here’s what Hamilton said:

Ending with a DNF –

Hamilton: “Ultimately, I think we started with a car that we didn’t want and we finished with a car that we didn’t want but we were basically stuck with it. We kept trundling way, kept working away at improving it, but I think the fundamentals have still been there until the end, as you saw this weekend. It’s been more of a team building exercise this year and I’m very, very proud of everybody… Whilst we’re not celebrating a World Championship, we’ll be celebrating them still for their hard work and efforts. I hope that the struggles this year really provide us with the tools and the strength to fight for many more championships moving forward.”

Damage after incident –

Hamilton: “We have a bib under the seat, right under the floor, and it took a big hit… and when that happens you just lose a bit of performance. The balance kind of shifted forwards because it felt like I had all of a sudden loads more wing on, and I was struggling with the car being quite oversteery,. Once I had the pit stop, we took a bunch of wing out and it managed to be rebalanced. There was definitely some sort of loss but… I got back on the pace.”

Here’s what Wolff said:

“I think we pushed very hard at the beginning. It looked like the first few laps we had real pace and were expecting it to stabalise but it didn’t. On the hard tyre we were pretty much with Lewis on the same trajectory as all the other teams but it was not, we expected more from the car in terms of tyre degradation that we actually had.  Its something that we need to analyse because we gave up lap time more so in qualifying and all over the weekend and it did not materialise. Lewis at the end, I think the engine went. It was a loss of hydraulic pressure, then hydraulic failure and he lost gear shift so we brought it back to the pits.”

Here’s what Sainz said:

Start, incident, strategy –

Sainz: “I’m satisfied with that, mainly because we had a very tough first few laps battling with the Mercedes – they put us under a lot of pressure. Obviously there was the issue with Hamilton at the start. He jumped the corner and then gave me the position very cheekily back, to pass me back, so then I had to pass him back. I used a lot the tyre and used a lot the pace there, which forced me into a two-stop, which was a slower strategy. It is what it is, we had good pace, and we can focus now on starting like that next year.”

Here’s collision between Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2022-abu-dhabi-grand-prix-sainz-overtakes-hamilton-on-the-opening-lap-at-the-yas-marina-circuit.1750023432237435230.html

Here’s Abu Dhabi test line-up and details