Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes was hit by unfortunate timing during the German Grand Prix as he failed to score a point despite holding a comfortable lead early on.
The polesitter opened up a gap of nearly 10 seconds in the opening part of the race in wet conditions, with teammate Valtteri Bottas running second. However, with many drivers pitting for slick tires and improving, Hamilton had just done the same when Charles Leclerc crashed, bringing out the Safety Car. Hamilton himself then crashed at the same corner one lap later, damaging his car and dropping out of contention.
“It’s just not been an easy weekend, overall,” Hamilton said. “I was leading the race and I was feeling good. Just wasn’t meant to be this weekend.
“It was more mental today … I’m only human. I don’t really have anything to say about it. It was a mistake and mistakes happen.”
Hamilton says he could see more rain was coming just before pitting for soft tires, but trusted Mercedes’ call to switch to slicks due to the data his team would have.
“The turning point was when they put slicks on me when it was still wet. And it was difficult because other people had put slicks on but I stayed out because it was still wet and kept going for as far as I could on the inters. When they pulled me in I could see there was more rain coming down but they have usually more knowledge than I do and if I had said to put the inters on and it was the wrong call, it could have been costly.
“Turns out, by not telling to put inters on, despite others having slicks on and doing OK, I think it just happened that they put my slicks on at the same time as when Leclerc went off and it had just started to rain more. So, just the timing was off.”
Having gone off under the Safety Car at the same corner Leclerc did, Hamilton highlighted how little grip there was in the run-off area after the Ferrari driver described the surface as “unacceptable” for F1 standards.
“It was like ice but normally it would be gravel. I don’t feel any particular way about it — if it was gravel I probably wouldn’t have gone as far and probably would have been able to come back on but it is pretty poor design, that aspect of the track I would say.”