Dutch GP: Lewis Hamilton apologises for furious outburst as Mercedes explain strategy ‘risk’

Lewis Hamilton went from first to fourth in the closing stages of the Dutch GP after a contentious Mercedes strategy call; F1 heads to Italy next weekend with all sessions live on Sky Sports F1 from September 9-11

Last Updated: 04/09/22 6:10pm

Lewis Hamilton apologised to the Mercedes team for his radio rant

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Lewis Hamilton apologised to the Mercedes team for his radio rant

Lewis Hamilton apologised to the Mercedes team for his radio rant

Lewis Hamilton apologised to his Mercedes team after admitting he “lost it for a second” as he unleashed a furious rant over team radio following a contentious late strategy call in the Dutch GP.

Hamilton appeared to have a strong chance of claiming his first victory of the season when he and team-mate George Russell led Max Verstappen in the latter stages, but Mercedes brought in Russell for soft tyres, leaving Hamilton, on eight-lap-old medium tyres, immediately vulnerable at the restart.

Verstappen passed Hamilton with ease on the home straight as the race resumed before cruising to victory, while Russell and Leclerc also passed Hamilton to leave the seven-time world champion to finish fourth.

“That was the biggest **** up,” Hamilton said during the race on team radio. “I can’t believe you guys ****** me man.”

However, having been explained the full picture by his team following the race, the 37-year-old offered an apology.

Hamilton vents his frustration at Mercedes' strategy decisions over team radio during the Dutch Grand Prix

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Hamilton vents his frustration at Mercedes’ strategy decisions over team radio during the Dutch Grand Prix

Hamilton vents his frustration at Mercedes’ strategy decisions over team radio during the Dutch Grand Prix

“I was just on the edge of breaking point with emotions,” he said.

“My apologies to the team because I don’t even remember what I said. I just lost it for a second.

“But I think they know that it’s just so much passion.”

Karun Chandhok looks back at the Mercedes pit calls during the Dutch GP which cost Hamilton the potential win

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Karun Chandhok looks back at the Mercedes pit calls during the Dutch GP which cost Hamilton the potential win

Karun Chandhok looks back at the Mercedes pit calls during the Dutch GP which cost Hamilton the potential win

Wolff: We were screwed either way

Toto Wolff offered an apology to Hamilton over radio at the end of the race, but the Mercedes team principal insisted they were “screwed” whichever decision they took.

“First of all, we are the trash bin for the driver,” Wolff said. “It’s highly emotional, you’re that close, racing for the win and then you’re being eaten up. So it’s clear that every emotion comes out, and as a driver, you’re in the cockpit, you’re alone, you don’t see what’s happening.

“We discussed in the moment, are we taking a risk for the race win? Yes, we’re taking risks. He had a tyre that was five laps old from the medium, holding position was the right thing to do.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that they took a risk for the race win with Hamilton and it did not pay off

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that they took a risk for the race win with Hamilton and it did not pay off

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that they took a risk for the race win with Hamilton and it did not pay off

“At the end, it didn’t work out for him, but I’d rather take the risk to win the race with Lewis rather than finish second or third.

“You can do two things, you can either pit Lewis, lose track position against Verstappen, and leave George out – screwed.

“You can pit both – screwed. So it was worth taking the risk.”

Max Verstappen eases past Hamilton at the restart following the ending of the safety car

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Max Verstappen eases past Hamilton at the restart following the ending of the safety car

Max Verstappen eases past Hamilton at the restart following the ending of the safety car

Russell, who had to take evasive action to avoid contact with Hamilton as he passed his team-mate, said he was “sorry” for Hamilton but was “very glad” at his decision to stop for soft tyres.

The 24-year-old suggested he had played a significant role in persuading the team to stop him for soft tyres.

“I felt very strongly about pitting for that soft,” said Russell, whose second-placed finish took him 30 points clear of Hamilton in the drivers’ championship. “I don’t know if you heard the radio or not but I was adamant that was the correct call.

George Russell says that Mercedes deserved a better result as a team

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George Russell says that Mercedes deserved a better result as a team

George Russell says that Mercedes deserved a better result as a team

“Potentially I thought the team was probably going to make that call anyway, as it makes sense to split the cars in a situation like that. Obviously, Lewis being the lead car it’s a bit more tricky.

“I was surprised we didn’t pit initially, but when we came through the pit lane, ultimately it was a free pit stop, so very glad we made that decision.

“It’s so easy in hindsight, but I think what would have happened if we both stayed out is Max would still have won the race and we probably would finished behind Charles as well. So, as a team, finishing second and fourth is not quite the result we probably deserved today. We definitely should have had both of us standing on that podium, but it’s so difficult in the heat of the moment.”

Rosberg: Mercedes had to leave wing-man Russell out

Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who won the world championship in 2016 as Hamilton’s team-mate, was critical of the strategy call.

“The most important thing for me is that if you do decide to take a risk to go for the win, as they wanted to do with keeping Lewis out on the medium, then do it properly,” Sky Sports F1 pundit Rosberg said.

Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes should have left Russell out to maximise Hamilton's chances of winning the race

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Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes should have left Russell out to maximise Hamilton’s chances of winning the race

Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes should have left Russell out to maximise Hamilton’s chances of winning the race

“You have to leave that wing-man there in George right behind, because that’s going to increase the chances so much for Lewis to really get that win.

“The way they did it, was taking a risk that was never really going to work, because Max was just way too quick from the get-go with that soft tyre.

“So that’s the thing that I think they didn’t get quite right, but of course, it’s difficult to decide on that in that moment.”

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