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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton rues Mercedes strategy: ‘We could have challenged Verstappen’

Hamilton believes he had the pace to halt Verstappen's dominant run.

Hamilton Zandvoort Sunday
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton believes that he would have been able to challenge Max Verstappen for victory if Mercedes had made the right strategy calls during the Dutch Grand Prix.

Hamilton was the only driver to opt against the Soft tyre compound when starting from 13th on the grid, instead choosing the Mediums.

But heavy rain began fall the circuit on the opening lap and while most of the field peeled into the pits for Intermediates at the end of laps one and two, Hamilton was one of few drivers that decided to stay out.

After losing an abundance of time to the wet weather tyre runners, Mercedes called in Hamilton but the delay in switching compounds dropped him towards the back of the field.

A strong recovery drive promoted the two-time F1 champion to sixth, with Hamilton unable to make his way past Ferrari's Carlos Sainz in the closing stages despite applying immense pressure.

“I feel really good. I didn't really know how it was going to go naturally,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“And I sat here last night [Saturday] just really racking my brain like ‘where did we go wrong and how do we end up in this position?

“Then I was just working on trying to figure out how I can progress. I was the only one on the Medium tyre and I wanted to be offset to the people around me, not everyone on the grid.

“When that rain then came out, we as a team made the wrong decision. Ultimately, it was the team's call and we paid the price for that.

“But then we came out last and I think after that just was just chasing, kept my head down.”

Hamilton missed opportunity

On his fightback through the field, Hamilton added: “I was really happy, I got past the McLaren [of Lando Norris] on this track which is not so easy to do and I was quicker than Sainz at the end, just needed to get DRS.”

“I think the pace in those conditions, if we've made the right call we had the pace to be challenging the top two.

“We would have been challenging Max, to be honest. Particularly when we got to the dry. I mean, pace-wise, I think we weren't terribly far off.

“Not saying that we would have beat them but it’s nice to think that way.”

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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