“Wasn’t the Right Idea” – Lewis Hamilton Disgruntled With Mercedes Decision at Spa F1 Qualifying

Published 08/28/2021, 3:55 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is interviewed after qualifying third Pool via REUTERS/John Thys


The Belgian Grand Prix witnessed one of the most chaotic qualifying sessions in the 2021 F1 season. With rain pouring throughout the final qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton could only qualify third for the first race after the summer break.

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Despite putting on a competitive lap on intermediate tires, he couldn’t dislodge his title rival Max Verstappen. After the session, the Briton expressed disappointment on the team radio.

Lewis Hamilton criticises tire management after failing to take pole

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During the practice sessions, Hamilton finished no higher than third. In fact, excluding the first practice session where he struggled massively, he could only finish third with Verstappen finishing higher.

Rain delayed the beginning of qualifying at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. While the first qualifying session saw a mix of intermediate and wet tires, the final session saw Lando Norris suffer a massive crash right at the start. This brought out red flags.

After a lengthy delay, the track became less waterlogged, which saw the Top 10 go on intermediate tires. Mercedes struggled at various points in qualifying, often alternating Hamilton‘s tires. In the end, the Briton couldn’t out-qualify Williams’ George Russell, let alone Verstappen.

After offering a quick apology to his team, Hamilton asked his race engineer, Peter Bonnington, where he lost time. He replied, “It’s mainly turn Turn 1 and Turn 18 braking.”

Following this, the defending world champion admitted Mercedes got it wrong with tire management. He said“We took too much temperature out of the tires. Wasn’t the right idea.”

Ultimately, Hamilton missed the front row by a mere 0.013s as Russell completed his best ever qualifying session with Williams. In fact, the 23-year-old felt at home despite the treacherous wet weather conditions, and could pose a threat to the strategies of Red Bull and Mercedes on Sunday.

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Can Hamilton pip Verstappen to victory in Spa?

While the Briton looked slightly off the pace, Verstappen made his intentions clear. And with the Belgian crowd behind the 23-year-old, Hamilton has a massive challenge on his hands.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 26, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

However, the 36-year-old can take heart from the fact that he won last year’s race on this track. With the weather at Spa highly unpredictable, can Hamilton extend his lead in the driver’s championship? Only time will tell.

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WATCH STORY: Lewis Hamilton’s Biggest F1 Crashes

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Sanket Nair

632 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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