Hamilton ignored instruction not to go for fastest lap

Lewis Hamilton ignored a message from his Mercedes Formula 1 team urging him not to go for fastest lap at the end of the French GP.

Hamilton ignored instruction not to go for fastest lap

Hamilton was told several laps before the end of the race that fifth-placed Sebastian Vettel had a window in which to comfortably make a pitstop and go for fastest lap on new tyres.

Despite taking that information onboard with hard tyres that had run 29 laps, Hamilton posted a time of 1m32.764s on his final lap to briefly grab the fastest lap point.

However, having taken fresh soft tyres Vettel subsequently crossed the line in 1m32.740s, only just pipping his rival. The Ferrari driver revealed that he had been compromised by a battery issue.

Read Also:

Hamilton said having got so close was a reminder that he and the team always keep pushing.

"I think you should never give up and never be complacent and just think no it's not possible," he said when asked by Motorsport.com. "An extra point was available. Naturally the guys can't know how I feel in the car, but I felt like I had a little bit left in the tyres, and there was only one more lap.

"I was, 'I'm going to go for it man, let's go for it.' Even during the lap they were saying, 'Don't worry, he's got new tyres, there no way you're going to beat him.' As crazy as a driver is, I thought maybe I could get there.

"I didn't realise I'd be so close – there's things I could have done to make it happen. I don't think he had a perfect lap, I don't think he had full deployment, or something like that. I think that's a learning for us, never take things for granted and continue to push."

Hamilton's explanation was supported by the radio exchange with Peter Bonnington, which ran as follows:

*Hamilton starts the final lap*

Bonnington: So Vettel has stopped for fastest lap, so we won't bother going for it.

*As Hamilton approaches the back straight, clearly on a hot lap*

Bonnington: So Vettel on a soft tyre now, so expected to be a 31.

Hamilton: I hear you man, but if he doesn't do the lap maybe I'm alright.

*Race finishes*

Bonnington: Get in there Lewis. That was an absolutely blistering drive mate. Awesome race pace.

Hamilton: Phenomenal weekend guys. Just so proud of everyone. Thank you so much for all the hard, continued work. Let's keep it up.

*Further round the cool-down lap*

Hamilton: It was worth a try, the last lap.

Bonnington: Yeah, copy Lewis. Yeah, very close in fact.

Hamilton: How much was I off?

Bonnington: A couple of hundredths.

Hamilton: You can never have a defeatist mind, always got to go for things dudes.

Bonnington: Yeah, just saying...

Hamilton: I could have gone quicker if we'd planned it properly.

Bonnington: Yeah, copy, that's a lesson for us.

Vettel admitted that he expected to have gone faster, but insisted he was not discouraged that Hamilton could come so close with old tyres.

"Not quick enough!," said the German. "I was surprised myself. We tried to go as fast as we can. Before that it looked fine, the fastest lap was only a 1m33.5s, Lewis put a very strong lap in at the end.

"I can only assume he was cruising for most of the race before that. The tyre degradation was quite low, especially on the hards, so he was able to put a strong lap in at the end. But yeah, it was tight.

"We had a small issue with the battery so maybe not 100% ideal. I had a quick look at the fastest lap comparison and it was very close the whole lap. So, discouraging, no. Not more or less than the lack of speed we've seen now for some races."

shares
comments
Russell says unseen move on Kubica was "hairy"

Previous article

Russell says unseen move on Kubica was "hairy"

Next article

F1 race director Masi explains why Perez was penalised

F1 race director Masi explains why Perez was penalised
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event French GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021