Record world champion Lewis Hamilton draws the short straw again in Miami against teammate George Russell – despite a much better starting position.
Formula 1 record world champion Lewis Hamilton really had fun outside of the car in Miami: at the US spectacle of the premier class, he posed for souvenir photos together with other sports greats such as Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and David Beckham and was celebrated by the fans. On the track, on the other hand, the Brit only feels like laughing on Saturday: In qualifying , he finishes sixth well ahead of teammate George Russell (twelfth place) and is 3:2 in the qualifying duel.
The Sunday in the generational duel at Mercedes goes to his compatriot, who is 13 years his junior, for the fourth time in the fifth race of the 2022 season. “We left George out for a long time and bet on a safety car for him. That paid off,” sports director Toto Wolff reveals Mercedes’ strategy. The only problem: “It went against Lewis, that didn’t play into his hands,” explains the Viennese.
Because while Hamilton stays on the track on old hard tires in the safety car phase after the accident between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly , Russell can put on fresh mediums and thus overtake his stable mate after the restart. “George had a window because nobody was behind him, so he came in. With Lewis it was more like 50:50 and in the end it didn’t work out for him, like it’s done a number of times this year,” says Wolff.
But Hamilton only half subscribes to this theory of bad luck. The record world champion is more annoyed that his racing team lets him decide on the strategy in this phase that is decisive for the race: “In a situation like this, I have no idea what’s going on on the track. I don’t have all the information at all to be able to make this call,” says the Briton.
Hamilton feels left alone: ”It has to be the pit crew’s job, because they have the overview. I told them that, too. In such a case, I have to be able to rely on my people.” Hamilton continues: “I don’t know exactly what happened there – just that it certainly didn’t help us today.” Due to the confusion of strategy, the Silver Arrows end up in a direct duel for fifth place in the final rounds.
According to his own statement, the fact that his pilots put up a tough but fair duel doesn’t make team boss Wolff sweat: “I’m very happy with both of them, how they treat each other and how respectful they are. Even in a situation like today, where they race against each other. I think that’s how teammates should race against each other, so that’s okay with us.”
The silver arrow duel is even artificially prolonged: Because Russell leaves the track when he first tries to overtake, he has to let Hamilton pass again in the meantime. “I was clearly off the track, so I had to do everything again. But it was fun and there’s a good respect between us,” says Russell.
Wolff once again has to defend his team’s performance after the Miami GP: “We’re only third party, we were a bit in no man’s land again and still haven’t found the antidote for our problems,” he doesn’t beat around the bush for long . “We’ve been flying in the fog since the beginning. It’s clear that the car has potential and that it’s fast, we could see that here on Friday. But we don’t know how we can develop it.”
The Viennese adds: “Here we have collected a lot of data again, which we now have to carefully dissect with a scalpel. It’s painful.” Mainly because Mercedes’ data still doesn’t always match the reality on the track. “We’ve never had a situation like this in all these years, where the data on the screen doesn’t correlate with what the drivers out there are feeling. That doesn’t make this whole process any easier, of course.”