Lewis Hamilton has won one GP every year since his F1 debut in 2007. That record series is in danger, but in Zandvoort a victory seemed within reach.
He could threaten Verstappen with a different strategy, but a safety car threw a spanner in the works. Mercedes chose not to give it fresh rubber and on older tires – where have we seen that before? – he was no match for Verstappen at the restart.
Hamilton swore and let it be heard on the team radio. “I can’t believe you guys are letting me down like that. I can’t describe how pissed I am. That was the biggest f*** up,” it sounded.
After the race, the seven-time world champion apologized. “The car and our strategy was so good right up to the safety car and our pit stops were top notch, the best of the season. I was really hoping for a double for the team with George.”
“That would have been fantastic after our difficult year. Finally that victory seemed within reach, but the safety car did not help us. To see it slip through my hands like that was really painful.”
“I had a bit of the same feeling as the last race last season in Abu Dhabi. Maybe that’s why I was so angry. I want to apologize, I don’t even remember what I said. I completely lost it for a moment.”
Team principal Toto Wolff could understand Hamilton’s outburst. “The team is like the puke bag on the plane, that’s our role. That’s the relationship between a frustrated driver and the pit wall. And during a race you get emotional. Especially as a driver you can hardly stop that.”