Hamilton felt the taste of his first victory of the season this Sunday (4/9), at the Dutch GP. The Englishman even led the race, but a strategic error by Mercedes during the safety car saw him finish fourth. Still on the track, he burst out: “I can’t believe you guys screwed me up like this. I cannot describe how upset I am.”
The seven-time champion was in the lead when the Safety Car was called. The Englishman continued on medium tyres, while Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and his teammate George Russell opted for the softs. Hamilton couldn’t stand the pressure and was overtaken by the trio. Calmer, he explained the situation.
“I think we had the car to win. Given the circumstances, what was lost with the virtual safety car and the safety car, I think the car and the strategies were fine up until that point in the stops. It was the best of the year. The guys were getting it right. I was hoping to get a one-two for the team, especially in a not-so-good year, without a win since Brazil. It was within reach, and the safety car didn’t help. I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown,” he stated.
Calmer, Hamilton also apologized to the team. “I lost my mind for a second, and I think they know it’s because of the passion. We were faster than most. If it wasn’t for the safety car, we could have challenged them with the one-stop strategy, which I don’t think the others would have been able to do,” he concluded.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has chosen to handle the case internally. “Lewis, I’m sorry. The strategy didn’t work. We did what we discussed in the morning. We took the risk and it didn’t work out. Let’s discuss amongst ourselves in the office.”
On the other hand, George Russell celebrated the pace of the Mercedes car. “I think as a team we showed incredible pace today. The end result was not what we expected, but it gives us a lot of confidence for the future. It’s amazing to see three different teams on the podium and we’re getting closer and closer to the top step,” he concluded.
With fourth place in the Dutch GP, Hamilton reached 158 points, in sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship.
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