Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was a surprise Q2 casualty at the Dutch Grand Prix, ex-Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins explaining that the seven-time champ pushed one lap too early.
While much of Saturday at Circuit Zandvoort had been a damp affair, the clouds would clear through Q2 and cause the track to dry rapidly.
That then meant the key to making Q3 would be getting your best lap time in right at the end of the session.
Lewis Hamilton goes too early and pays the price
This is a reality which Hamilton ended up finding out the hard way, the seven-time champ struggling to improve on his final Q2 push lap, leading to him returning to the pit lane as he waved the white flag on his Q3 ambitions.
Collins would then analyse this upset for Sky F1, explaining that Hamilton had been pushing a lap too early, meaning the peak energy levels in his Mercedes W14 and tyre performance were gone come that final lap when he should have been in that sweet spot.
“I was watching that Hamilton lap, he was pushing one lap too early,” said Collins. “So he was pushing the lap before the chequered flag.
“Because he crossed the line for the last one, that was his lap done, the energy was done, the tyres were done and he was backing off the whole way through that lap as everyone else was pushing by him.”
Hamilton then is staring at a P13 start for the Dutch Grand Prix, a potentially damaging qualifying display in his pursuit of P3 in the Drivers’ Championship.
He currently sits one point behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who holds that position.