Hamilton: The yellow flag prevented me from fighting for a place on the front row

Hamilton: The yellow flag prevented me from fighting for a place on the front row

Lewis Hamilton, photo Georgi Todorov/LAP

Lewis Hamilton believes he could have qualified on the front row for tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver finished fourth in the the qualification at the Zandvoort circuit after having to back off on his final lap due to a yellow flag caused by Sergio Perez’s spin. The Mexican made a mistake in the last corner and ended Q3 in the gravel.

Hamilton was less than four-tenths behind qualifying winner Max Verstappen. This is a big improvement for the Mercedes driver compared to the previous race weekend at Spa.

“The yellow flag prevented me from fighting for a front row spot,” Hamilton said. The Briton considers today’s result “positive” after all the difficulties at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

“This is a really positive result. I hope we can have a better race pace than that in one lap again.”

Hamilton, however, does not think he would fight Verstappen for pole position at Zandvoort. The world champion produced a phenomenal lap in the closing stages of his home qualifier.

“I think that’s very optimistic. They [Ред Бул] they were still too fast. But I think the front row was possible.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton would have grabbed pole position. The Austrian revealed that the team’s data showed that the seven-time world champion would have overtaken Verstappen if he had not slowed down.

According to own us data for the car, in fact we were with one tenth faster before the Perez incident,” Wolff said.

“Now we don’t know how we were going to get out of this situation. However, I think we were definitely fighting for pole position. Honestly, it’s a nice feeling. We want more. I think we could have been first or second.

Hamilton remains optimistic about his race chances despite difficult overtaking at Zandvoort.

“I haven’t actually done a long run until George has done it and he’s looked pretty solid. The car felt pretty good today. I really felt like I could ride faster. I hope this carries over into tomorrow. I will definitely fight and push as hard as possible to get on the podium,” added Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell was also hoping to join the race for the podium with Ferrari. The Mercedes driver was left frustrated by the lackluster pace in Q2, which forced him to use another set of soft tyres.

“The lack of pace in Q2 surprised us,” Russell said.

“We should have taken a second set of soft tires. In the end we only had one set in Q3. The situation was a bit strange and it really messed up our overall plan.”

Russell thinks Mercedes can’t understand why they were so slow at Spa and why they showed better speed at Zadnvoort from the start.

“At the end of the day, Max and Red Bull are too fast for us. Now we are focused on our fight with Ferrari.”