Hamilton: Jumping queue before last Styrian GP qualifying lap backfired

Lewis Hamilton says jumping ahead of several cars preparing for their final laps in Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix qualifying “definitely” backfired and left him “no hope” of improving.

Hamilton: Jumping queue before last Styrian GP qualifying lap backfired

The Mercedes driver, who ran an offset run plan in the final part of qualifying by taking three runs compared to the two most of the rest of the top 10 completed, left the pits as the last runner to start an out lap ahead of the final fliers at the Red Bull Ring.

Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas overtook eventual polesitter Max Verstappen early on their out laps before passing Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly as they toured slowly through the Turns 7/8 complex at the start of the final sector.

As the group continued to stack up before the penultimate corner, Hamilton also swept ahead of Bottas and started his lap only behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who headed the queue.

Hamilton’s subsequent final lap was then slower compared to his Q3 personal best, even before he went off the track at the penultimate corner while catching a snap of oversteer, which meant he ended up well down on a time that was soon deleted for breaching track limits when he caught the slide.

When asked in the post-qualifying press conference if he thought passing cars on his final out lap had cost him, Hamilton replied: “Yeah, definitely.

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

“But I went on all the dirty lines, so was just picking up all the dirt on the tyres and then got a poor exit out of the last corner.

“Already by Turn 1 I was a tenth down and already by Turn 3 I was 0.2s down.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“So, no hope in that respect. Then I naturally tried to overdrive to gather that time loss back and it just didn’t work.”

Going slowly through the final corners at the very back of the train was also nearly costly to Verstappen, as he could not improve on his final Q3 run because “I was the last one in the train, so my tyres I think were just a little bit too cold”, but his run from his first Q3 lap was good enough to clinch pole in any case.

The topic of drivers queuing ahead of their flying laps in qualifying segments has been in the headlines on several occasions in 2021, with Antonio Giovinazzi criticising Nikita Mazepin for overtaking him at the start of his final Q1 lap at Imola.

Perez said earlier this month at the Azerbaijan GP that a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ not to jump ahead in queues of cars coming to start flying laps in qualifying needed to be discussed because some drivers were “not respecting” the informal arrangement.

The Mexican driver qualified fifth on Saturday and afterwards felt the late Q3 antics “once again” had “ruined my lap a bit”.

He said: “I think, when it comes to Q3, I don’t know.

“People are on a different tyre preparation – some need to go faster, some need to go slower.

“Once again, it ruined my lap a bit because I ended up with cooler tyres than ideally. It’s part of the game. It is what it is.”

shares
comments
Bottas calls pitlane spin penalty "quite harsh" after McLaren complaint
Previous article

Bottas calls pitlane spin penalty "quite harsh" after McLaren complaint

Next article

F1 Styrian Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch, & more

F1 Styrian Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch, & more
Load comments
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021