Hamilton thanks Mercedes after ‘painful’ error

Jamie Woodhouse
A wheel nut issue was to blame for Lewis Hamilton's slow stop at the Belgian Grand Prix.

A wheel nut issue was to blame for Lewis Hamilton's slow stop at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton expressed his gratitude to Mercedes after getting him ready for qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix after his heavy FP3 crash.

The reigning World Champion ran wide at Turn 12 in the final practice session, and despite trying to correct the W10, he smashed into the tyre wall at some speed.

That incident threatened his involvement in qualifying, but the team got him out in Q1 and he would go on to secure P3 on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “P3 was a terrible session for me and of course, it’s painful because you know how hard people work to build those parts, and how hard the guys work to build the car, so I knew that was going to be a tough challenge.

“My guys are just faultless and always give 110%, so I’m really grateful for that and was just trying to pay them back with a good qualifying session.

“Considering I missed all of FP3 and a lot of FP1, actually, I’m really grateful I’m up here.

“Ferrari have done a great job today – Charles did an exceptional job – and I hope we can bring the fight to them tomorrow.”

Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas were trying to perfect the tow in an attempt to get anywhere near Ferrari’s straight-line speed, but that almost resulted in Hamilton smashing into the back of the Finn.

The amount of traffic moving slowly on track to achieve a similar tow was something that frustrated Hamilton.

“I think this year is definitely the slowest we have been, and today felt a little bit dangerous at one point because we were going around Turn 15 on the kerb and there was a car coming and I couldn’t move,” he is quoted by Motorsport.com.

“I couldn’t go on the grass. I was stuck behind Valtteri and Hulkenberg.

“I can imagine that if I was on a lap and I was coming around to find everyone crawling around at 5mph it would be a bit of a worry and a bit of a distraction.

“I am not really sure what we can do to stop it from happening. Maybe we have to be on the pitlane speed limiter or something like that.

“You should not be able to go at 5mph or 2mph or whatever…it was literally going as slow as possible to let people past.

“I did it in Austria I think to let everyone by because I was the first guy out there and the tow is so strong this year with these cars. They talk about the front wing being easy to follow but it has just caused a lot more drag, it is a draggier car this year so the tow is a lot more powerful than we have ever experienced.”

Bottas believed errors on his part cost him P3 on the grid which he thought was very possible.

“It felt pretty good, but today I struggled with turn one because of the wind,” he revealed to Sky Sports F1.

“You make mistakes faster there. My lap was fine too, but I also made a mistake in my fastest lap. P3 could have been possible, but Ferrari was just too fast.”

However, Bottas, who has just signed a new deal with Mercedes for 2020, believes he can compete with Ferrari for the win on Sunday.

“I am optimistic for Sunday, since our race space was fine. Fighting for the victory from P3 and P4 is certainly possible. So that is very positive,” he said.

“Sunday is the most important thing and we will see what happens in the race.”

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