Hamilton playing catch-up after stoppage

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Hamilton playing catch-up after stoppage

Formula 1

Hamilton playing catch-up after stoppage

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Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for the Dutch Grand Prix have taken a hit as a result of his stoppage in second practice.

The championship leader was on his third lap of FP2 when he came to a halt with just one timed effort to his name, causing the second of three red flags on Friday. After the majority of FP1 was lost due to an issue for Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton admits he will have to play catch-up on Saturday but doesn’t believe his lack of running will ruin his weekend.

“I just lost power and they just told me to stop,” Hamilton said. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s been a beautiful day in terms of weather. It’s amazing to see the crowd — so many people here, good to see people hyped and the first time we’ve seen the full, full energy. Well, not the full yet — we will probably see it over the next few days — but all the energy that the Dutch fans bring.

“This morning we only got like 20 minutes of running, obviously, with that red flag. Naturally, it puts us on the back foot but Valtteri (Bottas) looked like he had a good session, so hopefully tomorrow we can try and fill in and make up for some of the time.”

Having been quickest in FP1 once the session resumed with six minutes remaining, Hamilton says there were still some promising signs for him from the limited track time he did get.

“Definitely — it wasn’t feeling too bad. Then I made some changes for this season but I got one lap with it. Very, very hard to pick the good or bad points from that change but as I said, we’ve got Valtteri who did a lot of running, lots of data analysis we have from all the long runs, most of the other people got their long runs so it’s going good.”

Despite his limited running, the Mercedes driver is a fan of the redeveloped Zandvoort circuit, even though he is unsure there will be much in the way of overtaking come Sunday’s race.

“Oh man, that track is epic. It’s really fantastic. It brought so many memories when I first got out there. I knew it was great when I was in Formula 3 but it’s crazy in a Formula 1 car. The speed we’re going through Turn 7… it’s a real racing circuit. I don’t think you’ll be able to overtake here because it’s just high, high downforce, super-fast corners which you probably won’t be able to follow through, but let’s hope that there’s good strategy for Sunday.”

Despite the issues faced on Friday, there was one other bright moment for Hamilton when one of his fans paid for a plane to fly over the circuit carrying a message saying “7 x WDC … Simply lovely #TeamLH” prior to FP1.

“Someone messaged it to me! That’s incredible. My fans are honestly… I love them so much. I am so grateful for their enthusiasm and in general, I appreciate all fans of the sport. Everyone’s here to have a great time.

“It’s only natural I am competing against their driver (Max) so I don’t take anything to heart but yesterday I had a great reception here. I hope that it’s a great weekend for everyone.”

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