Lewis Hamilton believes he needed a perfect race to be able to have a chance against Max Verstappen in the Dutch Grand Prix, and he didn’t get it.
Verstappen started on pole position and held Hamilton off on the run to Turn 1, opening up a lead of some 1.7 seconds by the end of the first lap. That was pretty much as close as Hamilton would get, with a slower first pit stop ruining his chances of an undercut and then lapped traffic seeing the gap ebb and flow in the second part of the race.
“I think ultimately congrats to Max — they just did a better job all round,” Hamilton said. “They definitely were faster today; there wasn’t a lot I could do to answer the lap times he was doing already in stint one — was very hard to keep up, and I think Max was just managing whereas I was flat out just trying to stay as close as possible.
“I think today we needed everything to be perfect to have the slightest chance to pass him on strategy. Pit stops needed to be on point, start and traffic also, but none of those three were ideal today.
“Nonetheless, as a team we got second and third, some really good points on them on the constructors — that’s a super important one, and we’ll come back next week fighting.
“I think they’ve taken a bit of a step ahead but otherwise, just what a weekend! The crowd has been insane all weekend — the British crowd is naturally my favorite but these guys, the energy here has been crazy. And where this track’s better than Silverstone is the grandstands there are so far away and we need binoculars but here they’re right on the track like the olden days. We need that to be (the same for) the crowd in other places too.”
There was an added bit of pressure on Hamilton in the closing stages as Valtteri Bottas took the fastest lap away from him, but he says he wasn’t aware that his teammate had gone quicker on soft tires and had chosen to make a late pit stop himself to secure the extra point.
“I had no idea, but it doesn’t really matter. If Valtteri got it that would have been fine, because at the end of the day we needed to get the fastest lap, as many points as we can for the team, so if Valtteri gets it or I get it, it doesn’t really make a huge difference. But as I said I didn’t even know that Valtteri had stopped. It was my choice to stop — I needed that extra point, so I did. It’s fine.”