Dutch GP: Lewis Hamilton thinks Mercedes had pace to challenge Max Verstappen at Zandvoort


Lewis Hamilton finished sixth at the 2023 Dutch GP after finding himself near the back of the field early in the race; Hamilton is 12 points behind Fernando Alonso going into the Italian GP, which is live on Sky Sports from September 2-4 from Monza

Last Updated: 27/08/23 6:49pm


Lewis Hamilton felt the Mercedes could have been challenging Max Verstappen if it had been a dry race but 'we paid the price' for for early tyre decision.

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Lewis Hamilton felt the Mercedes could have been challenging Max Verstappen if it had been a dry race but ‘we paid the price’ for for early tyre decision.

Lewis Hamilton felt the Mercedes could have been challenging Max Verstappen if it had been a dry race but ‘we paid the price’ for for early tyre decision.

Lewis Hamilton believes he had the pace to challenge Max Verstappen if Mercedes had made the right strategy decisions at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who started in 13th, was one of the last drivers to switch to intermediates early in the race and was down in 18th. However, he came through the field, together with Lando Norris, and eventually finished in sixth amid the rain chaos.

Hamilton was close to a top-five result as he pushed Carlos Sainz hard at the end but couldn’t find a way past.

“Today I had the pace, in those conditions if we made the right calls, I could have challenged the top two. We would have challenged Max, particularly when we got to the dry pace-wise we weren’t terribly far off,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“I’m not saying we would have beat them, but I think we would have been happy. It’s still nice if you think that way.”

Mercedes’ strategy put Hamilton on the back foot but the seven-time world champion produced one of his best drives this year to fight back.

He admits the team made the wrong call but was satisfied with the recovery.

Max Verstappen wins the Dutch GP matching Sebastian Vettel's nine wins in a row.

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Max Verstappen wins the Dutch GP matching Sebastian Vettel’s nine wins in a row.

Max Verstappen wins the Dutch GP matching Sebastian Vettel’s nine wins in a row.

“I feel really good. I didn’t know how today was going to go. I sat here last night racking my brain ‘where did we go wrong? How did we end up in this position?’ Then I was figuring out how I could progress up the order,” explained Hamilton.

“Then I was the only one on the medium tyre and I wanted to be offset to the people around me, not everyone on the grid. That rain came and as a team we made the wrong decision. Ultimately, it was the team’s call. We paid the price for that.

“We came out last and after that we kept chasing, head down. It was a really good example of when you fall or stumble, to get back up and keep trying. Every time I had to pit, I came out behind and kept chasing.

“I was really happy when I got past the McLaren for example, which isn’t easy to do on this track. I was quicker than Sainz at the end. I just needed DRS.”

George Russell makes a 'save worthy of a World Cup penalty shootout' after touching the grass in his Mercedes during the Dutch GP.

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George Russell makes a ‘save worthy of a World Cup penalty shootout’ after touching the grass in his Mercedes during the Dutch GP.

George Russell makes a ‘save worthy of a World Cup penalty shootout’ after touching the grass in his Mercedes during the Dutch GP.

Wolff: We stayed out ‘catastrophically’ too long

George Russell also lost out due to Mercedes’ decision to stay on the intermediates during the opening 10 laps and was forced to fight back after starting from third.

Team principal Toto Wolff agreed with Hamilton’s comments, saying: “I think we stayed out catastrophically too long. We got it completely wrong and it is annoying because the car had real pace. From there on, it was just recovering as good as we could.

“I would rather have a fast race car and a mediocre result even if it hurts. We saw at the end on the intermediates, George had Max’s pace and Lewis was very strong behind Sainz, he could have been much further ahead. It is bittersweet because the result is just really bad.”

Toto Wolff says Mercedes got the early tyre calls 'completely wrong' and the result could have been so much better at the Dutch GP.

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Toto Wolff says Mercedes got the early tyre calls ‘completely wrong’ and the result could have been so much better at the Dutch GP.

Toto Wolff says Mercedes got the early tyre calls ‘completely wrong’ and the result could have been so much better at the Dutch GP.

Russell, who is 57 points behind Hamilton in the standings, finished 17th due to a collision with Lando Norris at the Turn 11/12 chicane with five laps to go as the pair made minor contact.

“It is a bit of a shame of an afternoon. We had such a fast car today but the decisions and the decisions and weather went against us so we need to look into what we could have done better because clearly we missed a big opportunity today,” said Russell.

“We were expecting the rain to stay for one or two minutes and it stayed for 10 minutes. It was ready for intermediate tyres but I thought I could brave it out for a lap or two more, if it was only one or two more minutes but it wasn’t.

“We would rather have a fast car on a bad day than the opposite but it is a big missed opportunity today.”

George Russell feels Mercedes 'missed a big opportunity today', after having to retire from the Dutch GP.

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George Russell feels Mercedes ‘missed a big opportunity today’, after having to retire from the Dutch GP.

George Russell feels Mercedes ‘missed a big opportunity today’, after having to retire from the Dutch GP.

Next up for the F1 circus is Monza, the Temple of Speed, which is the last European race of the season. All sessions from the Italian GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 from this Friday. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW for just £26 a month for 12 months. Cancel anytime





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