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Thank God they ignored me, says Hamilton

NEWS STORY
23/05/2022

Having finished the Spanish Grand Prix in fifth, Lewis Hamilton admits his team was right to ignore his suggestion that he retire his car following Magnussen clash.

Having touched in Turn 4, Hamilton and Magnussen were both forced to pit. Rejoining the race at the back of the field the Briton subsequently suggested to his team that they "save the engine" by allowing him to retire.

However, his call was ignored, his team telling him that a possible eighth-place finish was possible.

As it turned out, the seven-time world champion worked his way up to fourth, only to be told in the final laps that a "critical" cooling issue meant he had to slow even if it meant losing track position.

Passed by Carlos Sainz, Hamilton was able to hold on to fifth, and at race end admitted that his team was right to ignore his earlier request.

"I was thirty seconds behind," said the Mercedes driver, "so I thought if I am going to use a whole engine to drive around in last or out of the Top 15 and at some point take a penalty we may as well save the engine so we can live to fight another day.

"Thank God we didn't," he laughed, "that is why we never stop, we never give up and that's what I did.

"I was hoping for a smoother race without the issue at the beginning," he continued. "Having seen what it was like back in Jeddah where I started 15th and struggled to get into the Top 10, I was thinking it was impossible to get back into the points.

"But they said no I was on for eighth... I couldn't understand it and thought they were being super optimistic. But I thought let's give it everything and see where I come out."

"At the end his race pace was stunning," said Toto Wolff, referring to the fact that in the latter stages of the race, before his cooling issue appeared, he was the fastest man on track. "He would have raced for the win," added the Austrian.

"This is a great sign that we're going in the right direction," said Hamilton when asked if he now feels he has a race winning car. "I have no doubt at some stage we can win because today, if I hadn't had that, I'd have been fighting with the Red Bulls. So that gives me great hope that at some stage we'll be fighting for the win.

"I'm happy that we didn't retire Lewis as that was the most valuable race for us to compare the two cars, to compare set-ups, and tyres," said Wolff. "It's always the call when you've basically lost the race, to decide, what's the benefit of continuing. From a driver's perspective you're like, 'that can't be possible, I'm 50 seconds behind the leaders'. But it's still valuable mileage, we are never giving up anyway."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 25/05/2022 0:51

"@ JCR... I have searched the latest Sporting Regs and can find no reference to 'retiring cars' withoit any sporting reason. Hopefully someone can throw more light on this as it seems to me to be quite a salient point vis-a-vis the racing outcomes."

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2. Posted by kenji, 25/05/2022 0:47

"@ Defiant...you're quite correct IMO. When the team decided to ignore the GOAT's 'white feather moment' it would appear that he had no other options than to at least try to do the busines...that's obvious from the improvements made over the following laps through to the chequered flag. Better to have tried and lost than etc etc etc. Monaco should be extremely interesting given the Mercedes resurgence aided by many slow corners which will undoubtedly favour them. The intra team dynamics could also be altered as well!"

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3. Posted by Defiant, 24/05/2022 6:21

"His first F1 team mate has proven time and time again that it's ALWAYS worth it. Drivers should keep pushing regardless of what they perceive at the moment.
I'm pleased the team ignored him. F1 fans are the losers in situations like that. I also have a sneaky thought that ego had a little more to do with his offer than the mileage on the engine."

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4. Posted by jcr, 23/05/2022 14:19

"Open to correction, BUT ?
Are teams not forbidden from retiring a car for no reason ??
Driver being pissed off does,nt count."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 23/05/2022 12:30

"A very impressive drive from Hamilton & a shame that mechanical gremlins lost him a place at the end."

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6. Posted by kenji, 23/05/2022 12:10

"Knowing my penchant for being super critical of most things Mercedes,when I first heard his 'chat' during the race I immediately thought that the humiliation of being so firmly trashed by Russell was the prime reason he tried to weasel out by making such a lame comment. Now that 24 hrs or so have passed do i still think the same....yes I most certainly do. Mercedes probably thought the same that's why why they conveniently ignored his request.
"

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7. Posted by Hondaunearthed, 23/05/2022 7:42

"Can see his thought process at the time. It was a fresh engine, and the fresh engine always has that bit more power, as well as he said, putting miles on it for 15th. Why not leave it a little bit fresh for when he has the potential to maybe win."

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8. Posted by kenji, 23/05/2022 2:30

"Shades of the German GP in 2019! "

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