Lewis Hamilton talks about a snap at Turn 1 on Lap 1 which eventually helped him a bit as Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas couldn’t attack in F1 Belgian GP.
As the F1 Belgian GP panned out at Spa-Francorchamps, Bottas only had two real chances to attack Hamilton. The first one being on Lap 1 and the other being the re-start after a safety car period, but he perished both the times for different reasons.
For the opening lap, Hamilton said he had a small snap at Turn 1 which actually helped him to keep Bottas behind, as the Finn had to adjust his line accordingly. “On the start itself I had a big snap out of Turn 1 and Valtteri was all over,” said the Brit.
“As I had wheelspin, I had a de-rated shift as well, so that wasn’t particularly exciting, so I had to already block, I think, coming out of Turn 1. But the goal is to go in there in the lead and bridge a gap to the car behind – but in this instance, it worked out to my benefit, to be honest, a mistake, well, not a mistake, a snap, it was just the tyres, the way they are.
“It meant that Valtteri didn’t have a gap behind to slingshot alongside me. That’s definitely the stressful moment of the race. And then the restart, it’s horrible when you get the Safety Car. I’m glad that everyone’s safe. Controlling at the front and trying to bridge the gap on the restart to the car behind, because that’s another opportunity for them to slipstream you, is not easy.
“I think we were lucky because in previous years we’d have had a headwind into Turn 5 and so you’re obviously more draggy and the car behind gets a better tow. This weekend it was a tailwind, so I think that really helped keeping Valtteri behind,” summed up Hamilton. As the Brit mentioned about headwind, the Finn elaborated more.
Bottas said that there was tailwind when the race started, which didn’t really help as the tow effect got diminished. “I felt in general that the pace for me was good and I think that our car was strong,” he said. “As Lewis said, as a team it was a really solid Sunday for us. So, it was pretty straightforward.
“Of course, I tried to use the opportunities, the first one was at the race start. Out of Turn 1 I felt a better run than Lewis and I really actually had to lift not to run into the back of him and I tried to leave a bit of a gap to get a good momentum off the tow, but I was surprised how small the tow effect was, maybe with the tailwind into Turn 5 it made a different.
“To be honest, it’s not really an issue. I remember a few years back with less downforce it was more tricky but now, following through Eau Rouge is fine. I think it was just a question that, with the issue Lewis had at the exit of Turn 1, it was tricky to really build any gap to get proper momentum because of the car behind.
“It was the same on the restart. I was hoping to catch him but I just couldn’t,” summed up Bottas. Once these moments passed, it was a cruise for Hamilton as he extended his championship lead to 50 points now, with 10 rounds to go in the 2020 season.
There was another moment on the radio when Bottas was asked not to push which resulted in speculations of status quo but Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff explained what the call was. “There’s no rules in place between the two drivers, they are allowed and free to race,” he said to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters and more.
“In the morning, we agreed and discussed that we obviously have a limited amount of overtakes, and that we would try not to use them against each other, or the last one against each other, because there is always the risk of needing it against Max or any other car. This is what we were referring to, and Valtteri obviously, this was maybe a miscommunication between him and some of the guys. That’s why we reiterated it.”
Here’s why safety car was deployed
Here’s how the F1 Belgian GP panned out