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Hamilton says Spa is “worst time” to take penalties

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Hamilton says Spa is “worst time” to take penalties
By:
Aug 27, 2016, 1:59 PM

Lewis Hamilton says that the sudden reduction in Mercedes’ usual pace advantage at the Belgian Grand Prix means that the decision to take his engine penalties at Spa could conspire against him.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid

Although his teammate Nico Rosberg will start from pole position, both Mercedes drivers have found the going much more difficult than they expected, especially in raw pace over a single lap.

“We’re not easily the quickest here,” he said. “The others look like they have some pace, and because of the temperature it was probably the worst time to take the penalties, but it is what it is.”

Hamilton will start from the back row of the grid, alongside McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who has also taken a huge number of grid penalties.

World championship leader Hamilton cruised around in Q1, just to make the 107 percent cutoff.

“It was definitely a weird qualifying session for me,” he added. “Today was really important for us to make sure the car was right for tomorrow, so there’s no point in showing pace today, it’s about getting the car right.

“We know already the best tyres, the medium and the soft, because the supersoft is terrible, it lasted like three laps.”

Hamilton said it was impossible to have a clear plan of how he could carve his way to the front in Sunday’s race.

“We’re all going to have massive degradation, two to three stops tomorrow, I don’t know who will look after their tyres or not,” he said.

“We are all struggling to look after our tyres. It’s not going to be a cool, easy breezy day tomorrow where I’m just picking one by one off.

“I might get past three cars and then the rear tyres are gone. It’s an awkward scenario but we’re trying to do our best to set the car up and be best prepared for tomorrow."

When pushed about the plan, he replied: “I can’t tell you any of it [the plan] because I haven’t been told what I’m doing. They don’t even know!” 

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