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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton: Mercedes 'never discussed' copying Red Bull with a tow

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that gaining a tow from Valtteri Bottas was never part of Mercedes' game plan for qualifying in Abu Dhabi.

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To news overview © Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton says the idea of getting a slipstream from his teammate down the back straights of the Yas Marina Circuit was never discussed at Mercedes ahead of qualifying in Abu Dhabi.

With Red Bull's Max Verstappen claiming pole position by almost four-tenths of a second in an epic qualifying battle, the Dutch driver's lap was aided by a tow from teammate Sergio Perez, as the Mexican sacrificed his first qualifying run in Q3.

But Mercedes elected not to follow suit, even after Hamilton's first lap left him half a second off Verstappen's pace.

Speaking to accredited media, including RacingNews365.com, Hamilton said: "For us, I'd like Valtteri [Bottas] to focus on getting his... we work as a team in terms of needing to get the best job done for himself, so that you can have both of us as high up as possible.

"It's never something that we discussed or we worked on, and I don't believe we should have either."

This approach was in stark contrast to that of Verstappen and Red Bull, who addressed the same question about the tow.

"It was discussed before quali, so it was very nice - nicely executed," said pole-sitter Verstappen.

"I might have gained a tenth towards Turn 9, [but] it's not a massively long straight. Nevertheless, Checo [Perez] is a great teammate, and a real pleasure to work with, so a big thank you to him."

"Harder to find speed"

Hamilton set the fastest time in final practice on Saturday afternoon, but Red Bull came alive as the qualifying session progressed, and the seven-time World Champion admitted that he didn't have any particular complaints about the handling of his own car.

"The car was good, [but] Max did a great job on that final lap," Hamilton commented.

"Generally through practice and into qualifying, the car was feeling solid. Through the qualifying session, it felt like it got a bit harder to try and gain speed. In the last two laps, it wasn't easy to pull out the time. I don't know if it's track temperatures or what, but the last lap was OK.

"I definitely can't complain, but we wish we were a bit quicker today."

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