Lewis Hamilton ‘frustrated’ after DRS breakdown in Hungary

A Mercedes driver is on pole for the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix near Budapest, but it’s not Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion encountered a fault in his Drag Reduction System (DRS) in qualifying, meaning that the full power of his Mercedes W13 was not available to him in the crucial laps.

What exactly was going on? Hamilton himself speaks of a classic malfunction and says: “The DRS just didn’t work for me.”

That’s why Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has “mixed feelings”, despite George Russell’s pole position in the other Mercedes W13, as he emphasizes on “Sky”: “Because if Lewis doesn’t enter the DRS, then he’s also among the top three, Four. And that shows that we now understand a little bit more about the car.”

Hamilton disagrees with Wolff’s assessment

Hamilton contradicts his boss on this point. Because he can’t yet explain his team’s qualifying performance: “We don’t know where our pace suddenly came from. It came out of nowhere. We were still too slow on Friday, but all of a sudden we found something.”

In Friday practice, Mercedes had just made it into the top 10, nine tenths behind the Ferrari best time. The difference to qualifying on Saturday with P1 by Russell is therefore “like light and shadow”, says Hamilton.

“We did a lot on it overnight, the people in the factory and in the simulator also did a lot. We did that [auf nasser Strecke] didn’t feel it in practice three, but the car felt great in qualifying.”

Now Hamilton sees a chance for Mercedes to win

So it was “all in all frustrating” for him, “after all the difficulties we had [doch] not to be able to fight for a place in the front row,” says Hamilton. Postscript: “But other times will come.”

In the short term, he hopes to be able to “work his way forward” in the last Formula 1 race before the summer break. Above all, he keeps his fingers crossed for his teammate Russell for another sensation in the Grand Prix: “From the position he should be able to win the race on this track. And I will do what I can to to support him.”

Hamilton has the speed to do so: he was faster than Russell in both Q1 and Q2 and even set the absolute best time in the first segment. The DRS defect in Q3 then robbed him of his momentum.

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