Why Mercedes speculated on a place on the front row of the grid, but did not get this result in Formula 1 qualifying at Silverstone.
“We could have been second,” said Lewis Hamilton after Formula 1 qualifying at Silverstone on ‘Sky’. At least a place in the top 3 was “within reach” for Mercedes. But why was it “only” position five for Hamilton?
He himself explains it by saying that the Silver Arrows wanted to concentrate everything on the last lap in Q3 and therefore stopped the penultimate attempt, although Hamilton “had already been ahead in the meantime”. Still, the team decided it was better to save a few grains for the final try in qualifying.
“I wanted to use a more aggressive attitude on the last lap, [daher vorher noch] charge the battery and so on. We did that, but then the rain got heavier again on the last lap,” says Hamilton.
And that’s why the Mercedes bill didn’t add up, Hamilton finished fifth instead of second or third. “There was a bit of bad luck involved,” he says.
How team boss Wolff evaluates the result
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff struggles with the result. It “looked good” for the team from Brackley and Brixworth in home qualifying at Silverstone. “I think we had a car that was good enough for the front row, maybe top 3. All in all, it didn’t work out. So I’m pretty disappointed with the result.”
A place in the first row was “not optimistic”, but corresponded to the performance of the W13 Mercedes in the wet, says Wolff. “If we had continued like this with the laps and not paid so much attention to the drive settings towards the end, I think we could have qualified in the top 3.”
Second best qualifying result for Hamilton 2022
But things turned out differently and instead of row one, it’s row three for Hamilton. “That makes it a bit more difficult in the race,” says the seven-time Formula 1 world champion. “But we still have a good race car and we’re staying on the ball.”
“It’s not the worst starting position. I would have been very happy with that in the past races. But here we’re talking about the British Grand Prix, so of course you hope for more. And I was so hopeful because we have such a great audience here . Suddenly I was up front and it felt good,” said the Mercedes driver.
It’s Hamilton’s second best qualifying result this year after P4 in Montreal and further fifth places in Sachir and Melbourne. And with fifth place at Silverstone, Hamilton drew level with Mercedes team-mate George Russell again in the qualifying duel. There it is now 5: 5 after Hamilton had been behind for a long time.
How much the Mercedes updates have contributed
An improvement in form at Hamilton? Wolff agrees: The ex-champion is “very impressive” at Silverstone and has “pointed out” every lap, especially in qualifying. “In the end it didn’t fit anymore, but we know why that was,” says Wolff.
How much have the updates on the Mercedes W13 contributed to this? Hamilton does not want to quantify the new parts, but says the car has “become better”. Hamilton continues: “There is still so much potential that we have not yet fully exploited. So we will try to make the car even better.”
But the big problem with bouncing persists, specifically in the corners at Silverstone, says Hamilton. Original sound: “These are exactly the places where Red Bull drives away from us.” The car isn’t bouncing as extreme anymore, “but the bouncing still upsets the balance.”
What’s still in the race
Nevertheless, Mercedes is one of the extended favorites at Silverstone. But Hamilton doesn’t want to promise too much: “I don’t know if we can say a word about victory. Red Bull is very fast in the dry. They pull us away on the straights and in the fast corners because they don’t have bouncing. “
Mercedes, on the other hand, convinced on the long runs in Friday practice. “Our race pace looked a bit better then,” says Hamilton.
“I still think Red Bull will be in front, but I’m hoping to be a little closer compared to the previous race. If that’s the case then I want to stay close and maybe even go further. I definitely will be aggressive.”