Lewis Hamilton after Belgian GP: “We had a chance of P3 and P4 today”

© Stephen Reuss for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Toto Wolff and Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin give their comments on the Belgian Grand Prix.

P4 and a DNF for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team in Belgium

  • George continued his consistent run of form to finish the Belgian Grand Prix in P4, while Lewis experienced his first DNF of the season, the final driver on the grid to do so.
  • Lewis suffered damage on the opening lap after contact with ALO at Les Combes, with a loss of water pressure forcing the car’s retirement.
  • George moved up to P4 after a clean start and despite dropping a place to LEC after the first round of pit stops, retook the position with a smart move shortly thereafter.
  • George put together a solid middle stint on the Medium, going long to create a tyre advantage over SAI in P3 at the end of the race. After closing the gap to the Spaniard by a second a lap at one stage, George ran out of tyre life and had to settle for P4.

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George Russell

I have mixed feelings right now because had you told me last night we will be two seconds off the podium on merit and pure pace, I’d have said that’s a good recovery. When I was closing in on Carlos at the end, a second a lap, I thought here we go – we’re in for a really good shot here. But then I just had two really scrappy laps and got the tyres out of the window. When the tyres are in that sweet spot, the car is transformed but as soon as I lost them, I knew the podium was game-over. Overall, considering where we were, P4 and two seconds off the podium – not too bad. Today our race pace was probably better than the Ferraris; Carlos started on pole, was leading the first stint and we closed him in both times. So at worst, I think we were equal with Ferrari today, but as we know, it’s swings and roundabouts. What is clear is, Max is cruising away at the moment.

Lewis Hamilton

Looking back at the footage, Fernando was in my blind spot and I thought I left more room than I did, so it was my fault and I paid the price. I’m just sorry for the team, we had a chance of P3 and P4 today. The car felt good on the laps to the grid, we’d got it into a good place and I’d made a good start. After three weeks away, I was looking forward to racing today so it’s frustrating, but it is what it is. Right now, my job is to focus on the next race, I need to recuperate and get back on the treadmill.

Toto Wolff

I don’t think we can be satisfied with this weekend – if you see Verstappen, he has leaped above us all. We really need to find out how we can improve our car because the gap is just too big. We’re giving the drivers a very difficult car to drive and it hasn’t got the pace on a single lap so we need to work ourselves out of this situation. Over the next four days, we’ll be putting our heads together, setting our sights on the next race and also next season. It’s important we stay level-headed, keep our spirits up and don’t flip too much between elation and depression – this weekend is a low but in Hungary three weeks ago, we were thinking we will absolutely win a race, so we’ll never give up.

Andrew Shovlin

Well done to Max and Red Bull, he was in a different league today and would have won from anywhere on any strategy. It’s a bit of a shock how far ahead he has been this weekend; we’ve clearly got more work to do than we thought, fingers crossed he isn’t this fast around every track! George drove good stints through the race and had better pace than Carlos, he’d just taken a bit too much out of the tyres in the final stint to make a pass. Lewis was unfortunate to be out of the race so early after a strong start. He’d not seen where Fernando was positioned turning into turn 5 and caused himself an early retirement; we’ve not yet got the car back but hopefully there’s not too much damage. The weekend overall has been tough. We’d hoped to move forward here with our updates and whilst it seems that Ferrari are closer to us on race pace, Red Bull are clearly not. We have struggled with the various compromises the car has here, much more so than the races leading into the summer break and that’s definitely made our lives more difficult. In many ways that has given some useful learning, the car isn’t yet performing well enough over a range of tracks so it’s clear we need to widen the working window. We were also poor on the single lap which is another area we have to focus on; with a bit more track temperature today, the warm-up was much better but it’s been a recurrent issue over a range of conditions and circuits, and something we have to improve. We’ve got a couple of days to regroup and plan for Zandvoort, it’s got some similar challenges with very fast corners so hopefully we can make a bit of progress having analysed the data from this weekend.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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