Hamilton: F1 pitlane error in Sochi "nothing to do with pressure"

Lewis Hamilton says his pitlane error during Formula 1 qualifying in Russia was "nothing to do with pressure" from his title fight with Max Verstappen.

Listen to this article

Red Bull driver Verstappen took no active part in qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom due to a penalty for a power unit change that will see him start from the back of the grid.

Hamilton said on Friday that it was important for Mercedes to capitalise on the opportunity in Russia, but the seven-time world champion missed out on pole position after a messy end to qualifying left him fourth overall.

A mistake entering the pits to switch to slick tyres saw Hamilton hit the wall and damage his front wing, resulting in a long wait for a new one to be fitted. Hamilton then spun again at the end of the session after struggling with cold tyres.

But Hamilton dismissed the mistake being a result of any pressure in the close title fight with Verstappen, who he trails by five points at the top of the drivers' championship.

"It's really nothing to do with pressure, honestly," Hamilton said. "It really wasn't a pressure scenario. It's literally just [that] mistakes do happen."

Hamilton explained that the tight turnaround required to change from intermediate to slick tyres prompted him to attack more when entering the pitlane, as he "knew that I was going to need as much time on track as possible."

"In the previous times coming in the pitlane, you could take it really quite slowly," Hamilton said.

"The track was drying and the grip was quite good, and [I] came in and just took it a little bit quicker than normal and just lost the back end and slid into the wall.

"Yes, of course, embarrassing, [I'm] disappointed in myself that I'd had it, but shit happens. We all make mistakes, and of course it's not what you would expect a world champion to do."

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff echoed Hamilton's thoughts, saying the mistake had nothing to do with the title fight.

"I think it wasn't the pressure today, because it was clear that Max was starting from the back," Wolff said.

"Why that happened, I can't say. I don't think it's the pressure of the championship. And he wasn't the only one to whom that happened."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton will be aiming to score his 100th grand prix victory from P4 on the grid on Sunday, and noted that his record-breaking levels of success make mistakes such as the one in qualifying more notable.

"The problem when you have the success that I have, anything but perfection feels like a long way off," Hamilton said.

"I'm only human. My dad called me afterwards, and we just talked about it, and you just move on.

"Tomorrow, I get my racing head back on and back focused, and hopefully bring you a good race."

Read Also:

shares
comments
Angry Gasly rues "big mistake" on Sochi F1 qualifying inter tyre call
Previous article

Angry Gasly rues "big mistake" on Sochi F1 qualifying inter tyre call

Next article

Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022