Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “I gave it everything I had out there, but they were just too quick for us”

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Credit: LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton lost the lead in the Drivers’ Championship after Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix, but the Briton was quick to praise the crowd at the Circuit Zandvoort, even though the majority were supporting his rival for the title, Max Verstappen.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver was forced to settle for second at Zandvoort behind Verstappen, with the positions ensuring the Dutchman now holds the lead in the standings, albeit by only three points.

Hamilton reckons that even with a perfect Sunday, he would have struggled to beat Verstappen and Red Bull Racing, but he was delighted to run him close around a track he felt was amazing to attack, particularly on low fuel at the end.

“What a race and what a crowd, honestly, it’s been an amazing weekend,” said Hamilton.  “Max did a great job so congrats to him. I gave it everything I had out there, but they were just too quick for us this weekend.

“I think even if we’d have got everything right today with the traffic, the pit stops and the strategy, it’d still have been tough to get by them. We didn’t get those elements spot on, but either way, we pushed as much as we could and we’ll take it offline, debrief and see how we could have improved.

“We’ll be fighting right to the end. It was an incredibly difficult race out there, physically and mentally I think it was one of the toughest, but it’s an amazing track.

“The fastest lap at the end was one of my favourite parts of the race, it’s an incredible track to drive on low fuel, this is one of my favourite tracks now and I’ve had a great time here in Holland, so I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”

“We committed to the one-stop strategy quite early on” – Valtteri Bottas

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas completed the podium in third, but the Finn admitted it was a quiet race for him as he was unable to maintain the pace of the duo ahead but was a lot faster than those behind.

Bottas said committing to a one-stop was a mistake as it would have been faster by making two, but he ultimately was forced to make a second stop due to a safety concern over one of his tyres. He initially set the fastest lap, but was pipped on the final lap by Hamilton, who took the bonus point on offer for that.

“It was quite a quiet race for me but as a team, we scored solid points and there’s been an amazing atmosphere here,” Bottas said.  “Before the race, there was so much energy from the crowd, and it’s a really cool track to drive. Very hard to overtake on, but good fun.

“I was pushing hard out there but we committed to the one-stop strategy quite early on, and that needed too much management really and proved tricky. It definitely wasn’t as fast as the two-stop. We ended up stopping late in the race for safety as we had the gap behind, and I was starting to get some tyre vibrations.”

Bottas says Mercedes were lacking speed compared to Red Bull this weekend, but he hopes next weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a different story.

“We were lacking a bit of speed here compared to Red Bull but Monza is a completely different circuit so I’m hopeful we can compete there,” he said.

Valtteri Bottas completed the podium with third place in the Dutch Grand Prix – Credit: Jiri Krenek
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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