until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Hamilton regrets Styrian GP qualifying queue-jump

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says jumping ahead in the queue of cars at the end of Styrian Grand Prix qualifying backfired on his final run.

Hamilton qualified third-fastest but will start the Red Bull Ring race from second on the grid due to a penalty for Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

He had an unusual final segment of qualifying as he completed three runs on soft tyres instead of two like normal, but was unable to bridge the gap enjoyed by Red Bull’s poleman Max Verstappen.

Hamilton’s final attempt at grabbing pole was messy.

First, he passed Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas between Turns 7 and 9 to avoid being backed up too much before the start of his lap.

Then Hamilton was a quarter of a second slower than Verstappen in sector one, and the lap ended with him bailing out of the penultimate corner after a wobble on entry.

Asked if clearing the traffic on his outlap cost him on his final run, Hamilton said: “Yeah, definitely. In hindsight [it was the wrong move].

“I knew that everyone was going so slow and I was worried about not having the tyres up to the temperature.

“But I went on all the dirty lines, just picking up all the dirt on the tyres.

“And then had a poor exit out the last corner so already by Turn 1 I was a tenth down, and already by Turn 3 I was two tenths down so no hope in that respect.

“I tried to overdrive to gather that time lost back and it didn’t work.”

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 2021 Red Bull Ring

Hamilton had three runs in Q3 as he’d saved an extra set of softs and Mercedes was happy for him to use them.

He said it was worthwhile to “throw everything at” trying to overcome Verstappen’s advantage.

Hamilton’s poor final run capped a difficult qualifying session in which the seven-time world champion said his car just “didn’t feel as great” as it did when he was quickest in final practice.

He’d also had a strong Friday in which he felt happy in the car, and admitted he didn’t “fully understand” why he wasn’t “particularly that quick in qualifying”.

“In FP3 I did a lap and I was like, ‘that’s the one that I need for Q3’,” said Hamilton. “And I got nowhere near it!

“But these things happen, and we gave it everything, and we’ve got a long race tomorrow so I hope that the balance works for us.

“It’s gonna be a tough battle with these guys [Red Bull], they’ve generally had the edge throughout the weekend and the analysis last night was that they are a quarter of a second ahead on long run pace.

“I hope through work we’ve closed that gap.”

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