Q3 Medium Tire Choice “Not the Right Decision”: Lewis Hamilton

Published 05/02/2021, 3:05 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 1, 2021 Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton reacts as Mercedes’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position after the qualifying session Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


The Portuguese Grand Prix qualifying witnessed the Mercedes F1 team opting for a strange strategy for both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

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During Q3, while the other cars left their garages on a set of soft tires, there was the Mercedes duo, who surprisingly opted to go out on a set of Mediums for the first time this season.

But in the end, neither of the drivers managed to improve on their previous runs and were tapping their foot hard, hoping for Max Verstappen to mess up his final flying lap.

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Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 1, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

Luckily enough, that is exactly what happened, as, despite the wrong strategy, Mercedes managed to lock out the front row for the first time since the 2020 Sakhir GP.

The 7-time world champion, Hamilton, too, acknowledged that the Medium tire gamble wasn’t the right decision, and reckoned that tires failed to do their jobs.

The Algarve circuit has so far been extremely tricky to drive on, constantly evolving, and drivers having to do 2 or 3 laps before pushing for a flat-out flying lap. Hence, this may have forced Mercedes to gamble on the tire strategy during the crucial final part of qualifying.

What did Lewis Hamilton say?

During the post-qualifying press conference, Hamilton opened up about why he struggled to fire up the Medium tires in Q3, despite accomplishing it minutes back in Q2.

I don’t think it was… it probably wasn’t the right decision at the end but it was just tricky out there. You saw us having to do multiple laps,” he said.

The tyres are too hard here, so they don’t work very well with the surface so we have to do extra laps to get temperature in and at the end, just didn’t have very great grip, so didn’t do the greatest job.”

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Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 1, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The race is likely to be much trickier with winds set to pick up around the afternoon. Hence, the drivers will struggle to keep their cars on the track, and the fans can definitely look forward to a handful of spins or even crashes.

So, amidst such a tough afternoon on the cards, who is going to win the Portuguese Grand Prix? Will either Valtteri Bottas or Sergio Perez manage to squeeze in their first race win of this season at the Algarve circuit?

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Rohit Kumar

913 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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