Hamilton's pace "plateaued" in qualifying "struggle"
Lewis Hamilton reckons his chance of challenging Max Verstappen for pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix faded when his car "plateaued" with its pace in qualifying.
Having topped the morning’s final free practice session, Hamilton had looked on course to be able to take the fight to Verstappen for the top spot on the grid at the Hungaroring.
Reflecting on what happened, Hamilton said this his Mercedes had not made the normally expected gains between practice and qualifying.
“For me it was a difficult qualifying session,” said the world championship leader. “Practice was going quite well. We knew the Red Bulls were quick, they are always quick here, but when we got to qualifying, the car wasn’t the same as it was in P3.
“It was just a bit of a struggle from the beginning and it kind of plateaued there and it didn’t get any better.
"We will look into it, but nonetheless we are still there in the fight. Hopefully for the race we have better race pace than in qualifying.”
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Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas said that he had little cause to be too upset at missing out on the top spot by such a close margin, considering his lack of running so far this weekend thanks to an engine problem in first practice.
“It has been not the easiest of weekends so far,” he said. “We missed the whole practice one and very limited running in practice two, so this morning it was really important to find a rhythm and it was getting better and better.
“I was getting confidence in the car and luckily there was no big set-up issues. In qualifying [I was] just learning more and more, and starting to feel very nice in Q3.
“It is a shame to miss the pole by such a small margin as always, but congratulations to Max. They have been really strong all weekend. Considering how the weekend started, in that sense, I am happy with that but I would be a lot happier [with pole].”
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10
Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images
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