Hamilton in P10: ‘Is there even a point for that?’

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, helmet on in the Mercedes garage. Saudi Arabia March 2022.

Lewis Hamilton sarcastically asked his race engineer if he had scored a point after crossing the line P10 in Saudi Arabia.

After a shock Q1 elimination, Hamilton set about improving his fortunes on race day at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, starting from P15.

Hamilton was one of three drivers to start on the hard tyre, looking to go long, but when Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo both stopped at the pit entry, the Virtual Safety Car came out and Hamilton was not able to make it to the pit lane before it was closed.

Finally Hamilton would be able to come in, but the track had returned to green, meaning he dropped out of the top 10, having ran as high as P6, to rejoin the track P12.

Armed with fresh medium tyres, Hamilton was able to recover to P10 at the chequered flag, earning him a single point.

Battling in the midfield through pure pace has of course not been a familiar experience for Hamilton for almost a decade, but of course he is still aware how far the points actually trickle down.

That did not stop a sarcastic message though coming as he crossed the line.

“OK Lewis, that’s P10. Sorry about that,” said his race engineer Pete Bonnington.

To which the seven-time World Champion sarcastically replied: “Is there even a point for that position?”

Hamilton explained that his first stint was going really well, with the hard tyre providing pace and durability.

But, “it all hit the fan” once that Virtual Safety Car was deployed.

“I struggled at the beginning with the tyre temperatures and then it started getting a bit better and I started to gain on the guys up ahead,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

“And then I think they were on the medium tyres, they started to drop off and it was a really good stint and I was pushing, I think I was doing the same times pretty much as George on new hards.

“So I was feeling good at that point and then it all hit the fan during those cars stopping, it’s gutting, but I got one point at least, at least we’ve got points for the team.”

Asked if he felt Mercedes had made steps forward this weekend, Hamilton did not notice any real improvement, though acknowledged that it had only been a few days between Bahrain ending and the Saudi Arabia round starting.

He would point out that engine power was a problem towards the end, saying he could not live with the straightline speed of Magnussen’s Ferrari-powered Haas.

“I don’t particularly feel like…not much has changed really since the last race,” Hamilton said when quizzed on whether the W13 had improved since Bahrain.

“It’s only been a few days. What I know is that today I couldn’t keep up with the Haas at the end, the power they have, they came flying, slingshotted past me, when I overtook Magnussen earlier on in the race.

“So we’ve got a lot of work to do for sure, but I know I’ve got a great team and we’ll just keep our heads down and try to improve.”

 

That point for Hamilton boosts his tally after the first two rounds to 16.

His team-mate George Russell secured a P4 finish in Saudi Arabia, allowing him to move ahead of Hamilton in the early Drivers’ Chamnpionship.

Russell now has 22 points on the board, placing him P4 in the standings, one position ahead of Hamilton.