Hamilton was doing "qualifying laps" to follow Ferraris

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton says he was trying to "do qualifying laps every lap" to keep pace with Ferrari in the first phase of the Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was doing "qualifying laps" to follow Ferraris

The championship leader trailed Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc during the opening stint at Sochi as Ferrari cemented its qualifying advantage and Mercedes committed to staying out longer on harder tyres.

Hamilton eventually took the win when Vettel retired with a suspect MGU-K failure and triggered a virtual safety car that allowed Hamilton to make his pitstop under a caution period and jump Leclerc, who had to pit earlier because he was on softs.

"When we did the laps to the grid, I didn't have a lot of grip," said Hamilton when asked about the significance of starting on medium tyres.

"I was a bit worried. And then we lost a little bit from the initial phase [of the start], but then I wasn't able to get to the tow because he [Leclerc] stayed on the left and gave Seb the tow.

"I tried to sneak in behind Seb but there was a McLaren there so I had no tow down to Turn 1 and I nearly lost another place.

"After that it was just trying to keep up with them, but it was like trying to do qualifying laps every lap trying to keep up with them because they were so fast. It was massive challenge but one I'm really proud of."

Read Also:

Hamilton remained in DRS range of Leclerc during the first three laps of the grand prix but was more than 3.5s behind by lap 10.

By the time Leclerc made his pitstops that gap had come down by a second, while Hamilton had cut two seconds out of Vettel's race lead and was just five seconds behind when Vettel pit a few laps after Leclerc.

Mercedes' plan was to give Hamilton enough of an offset to come back at the Ferraris towards the end of the race, but Hamilton admitted afterwards that starting on the softs would have been better.

"Before the race we sat down and had our estimations of whether the soft tyres will last or not – either we'll be correct or they'll be correct," said Hamilton.

"Ultimately they were right, because the soft tyre was much stronger than we anticipated. Keeping up with their consistency and their speed was so hard. I wasn't expecting that."

While Mercedes was fortunate the safety car swung the race in its favour, Hamilton hailed his team's efforts to be in a position to capitalise.

"This weekend we knew that we had have to pull more out of this car and there was more potential there, but we didn't know where it was," he said.

"I think we pulled ourselves a little bit closer to the Ferraris this weekend and it was just enough to get ahead of them."

shares
comments
Bottas: Ferrari VSC was "miracle" Mercedes hoped for
Previous article

Bottas: Ferrari VSC was "miracle" Mercedes hoped for

Next article

Will F1 have a three-way fight to the end of 2019?

Will F1 have a three-way fight to the end of 2019?
How Ferrari's Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Prime

How Ferrari's Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

The five factors that won Sainz a British GP he’d twice lost Prime

The five factors that won Sainz a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston's latest F1 copycat saga Prime

Why there was no case to answer in Aston's latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Prime

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1's champion isn't fazed by Silverstone return Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1's champion isn't fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Prime

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue.

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Prime

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger .

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory Prime

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s Oleg Karpov on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow.

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022