Lewis Hamilton Explains “Mistake” Which Saw Verstappen Pass Him in Portimao

Published 05/02/2021, 2:21 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Lewis Hamilton managed to win his second race of this season at the Portuguese Grand Prix, possessing a healthy lead of 29 seconds over his title rival, Max Verstappen.

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However, during the early part of the race, a win looked a bit too far-fetched, as the Briton ended up losing his P2 to Verstappen during the safety car restart.

Since then, Hamilton drove his heart out to retake the position from the Dutchman and continued to sail past his teammate as well to lead the race. So, what really happened at the safety car restart? What caused Hamilton to get such a poor getaway?

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Took my eyes off Valtteri: Lewis Hamilton

The 7-time world champion opened up that he just took his eyes off the race leader to catch a glimpse of where Verstappen was. However, by the time Hamilton returned his focus to the front, Bottas had already started pulling away.

What a race. It was awesome. I think obviously the start I was putting pressure on Valtteri, very difficult to get to pass. But I thought I that was going to get him. Then we got the safety car,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after winning the race alongside third place Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

I did everything to keep the temperatures right in the tires. And then, restart, I literally took my eyes off Valtteri for one second to see where Max was. And Valtteri had gone. So that was a mistake.

But was that all? Well, no. Hamilton claimed that taking his focus off Bottas was only one of his mistakes during the getaway after the lights went green.

I gave Max the tow: Hamilton

The Mercedes driver opened up that he ended getting away from his teammate’s tow, which ended up being a massive disadvantage against the Red Bull behind.

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Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys

And following that one, other mistake was that I was in the tow of Valtteri and I should have just stayed there. But instead, I moved over and gave Max the tow and he came flying past me. That made my day a little bit harder,” Hamilton said.

Ultimately, despite the silly early mishaps, Hamilton managed to show the true pace of the Mercedes to bolster his lead on the driver’s standings.

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But can Max Verstappen give a comeback over the upcoming race weekend in Spain, spicing up the championship battle with his looming rival? Well, let’s hope he does.

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Rohit Kumar

627 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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