Lewis Hamilton has denied that Mercedes used tactical matches to take center stage in Hungary.
During the latter part of qualifying, with Hamilton already setting the fastest time at the moment, it looked like both Mercedes were playing a tactical match for Red Bull’s resilience in their final attempt to take the top spot.
Although Sergio Perez failed to reach the black and white flag in time, Hamilton denies that his team was playing a tactical game.
“I shouldn’t play tactical matches,” Hamilton said after qualifying during the press conference. “I know what I’m doing in the car and it’s fast enough, we don’t have to play tactical matches.”
“Everyone was doing a slow lap, it wasn’t really different from any of the other streams. Every time we went out we tried to get the tires ready, keeping them as cool as possible because they heat up here quickly during a fast lap.”
“Everyone was walking slowly, didn’t you see the others? I don’t understand, do you think I could have approached Valtteri faster that way?”
“Those who write comments like this obviously have no idea what job we do here, which is probably why they don’t drive here now,” Hamilton said in response to a tweet from Romain Grosjean. It wasn’t on purpose, it definitely wouldn’t be pretty.”
But Hamilton was also asked why he was coming out of the pit lane so slowly.
“I knew those guys standing in front of Valtteri, and whoever was in front of him, they would all be glued together by the end of the lap,” he explained. “So I tried to make a hole as big as possible.”
“Even at that time, we still had to slow down at the end of the lap and wait for everyone to come back again,” he added. “So I just tried to make sure I had as much free path as possible.”
“In the end, I think neither of us had the best tire setting for that lap because everyone was going slow,” he admitted, and it ended up being more than two seconds short of his previous time.
“In the end, we probably lost a lot of temperature in the tires up front,” he said of preparing for his last round in the third quarter.
“Well the start of the lap wasn’t great and it doesn’t look like she’s getting much better later in the lap either.”
Verstappen himself said it made no difference to the result of today’s qualifying session.
“Of course the tires were a bit cold, but I wouldn’t have won four-tenths if the tires had been a little warmer,” he said.
– Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) July 31, 2021
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