Lewis Hamilton fought back from some disastrous strategy at Mercedes to salvage points in a hectic Zandvoort race. The Britsh driver limited the damage from Mercedes’ incorrect decisions, although he believes a fight for the win could have been the F1 news story in The Netherlands.
Despite the forecast for early rain, the Silver Arrows opted to put Hamilton on medium tyres. This early mistake likely influenced the team’s next error, as both drivers stayed on track amidst wet conditions.
The two Mercedes cars were well outside the points in the early stages, so a herculean effort was required from Hamilton to finish in the top 10.
The W14 showed strong pace in all conditions, a bitter-sweet fact for the team given the opportunities missed.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Lewis Hamilton explained how his race unfolded:
“I was working on trying to figure out how I can progress this morning.
“I was the only one on the medium tyre – I wanted to be offset to everyone around me, but not everyone on the grid!
“And when that rain came out, as a team, we made the wrong decision.
“Ultimately, it was the team’s call, and we paid the price for that. And then we came out last, and after that, I was just chasing – kept my head down.
“I was really happy… I passed the McLaren, which on this track was not easy to do. I was quicker than Sainz at the end – I just needed DRS.”
When asked what could have been possible in Zandvoort, the #44 driver’s response was clear.
In a similar way to Alonso, Hamilton believes his involvement at the front could have featured in F1 news headlines:
“I think we would’ve been challenging Max [Verstappen] if I’m really honest.
“Particularly when we got to the dry, pace-wise, we weren’t terribly far off.
“Not saying we would beat them, but I think we would’ve been [in the fight]… It’s nice if you think that way.”
💬 “Thank you for the great job with the pit stops. Not the day we wanted today but let’s keep pushing”. – Lewis.
LH never gave up, a solid recovery drive. 👏 pic.twitter.com/Fd5J2ioHgD
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) August 27, 2023
On a positive note for Mercedes, their package seems more than capable of fighting at the front in 2023.
Race wins will likely require some misfortune for Verstappen, but podium finishes are certainly on the cards.
Second place in the standings is firmly in their grasp. The 7-time Champion can approach the final nine rounds with some optimism.
With the battle for third against Alonso set to intensify, Hamilton will continue to feature heavily in F1 news stories in 2023.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang