Hamilton: Pitlane blunder not the result of 'pressure'

Lewis Hamilton says his clumsy contact with the pitlane wall in qualifying in Sochi was a simple mistake... The post Hamilton: Pitlane blunder not the result of 'pressure' appeared first on F1i.com.

Hamilton: Pitlane blunder not the result of 'pressure'

Lewis Hamilton says his clumsy contact with the pitlane wall in qualifying in Sochi was a simple mistake that had "nothing to do with pressure" from his title fight with Max Verstappen.

Hamilton brushed the wall upon his entry into the pitlane in Q3 ahead of a switch from the intermediate to the dry tyre, a mishap that damaged the Mercedes driver's front wing.

Several minutes later, as he attempted to seize pole, the Briton spun again, caught out by his cold tyres.

A day after urging his team to capitalize on the back row start in the Russian Grand Prix of his title rival Max Verstappen, Hamilton squandered a chance to kick off his race on Sunday from the front row.

But the seven-time world champion denied that he had been drawn in to making a mistake because of pressure induced by his championship battle.

"It's really nothing to do with pressure, honestly," Hamilton said. "It really wasn't a pressure scenario. It's literally just [that] mistakes do happen."

©Mercedes

Hamilton admitted however that he was pressed for time when he entered the pitlane to switch tyres, and simply came in quicker than previously in the session.

"In the previous times coming in the pitlane, you could take it really quite slowly," Hamilton said.

"The track was drying and the grip was quite good, and [I] came in and just took it a little bit quicker than normal and just lost the back end and slid into the wall.

"Yes, of course, embarrassing, [I'm] disappointed in myself that I'd had it, but shit happens. We all make mistakes, and of course it's not what you would expect a world champion to do."

  • Read also - Hamilton: Q3 mistake 'not what you expect from a champion'

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff agreed that the mistake had not been induced by pressure.

"I think it wasn't the pressure today, because it was clear that Max was starting from the back," Wolff said.

"Why that happened, I can't say. I don't think it's the pressure of the championship. And he wasn't the only one to whom that happened."

Hamilton, who last won at Silverstone back in July, will be aiming on Sunday in Russia to conquer his 100th career win in Formula 1. The Briton believes his outstanding track record will always magnify the slightest mistake he makes.

"The problem when you have the success that I have, anything but perfection feels like a long way off," Hamilton said.

"I'm only human. My dad called me afterwards, and we just talked about it, and you just move on.

"Tomorrow, I get my racing head back on and back focused, and hopefully bring you a good race."

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Sainz hopes to work with Norris to 'pull away' in Sochi

Carlos Sainz will line up on the front row of the Russian Grand Prix alongside his former McLaren... The post Sainz hopes to work with Norris to 'pull away' in Sochi appeared first on F1i.com.

Sainz hopes to work with Norris to 'pull away' in Sochi

Carlos Sainz will line up on the front row of the Russian Grand Prix alongside his former McLaren sidekick Lando Norris, and suggests the poleman and himself could work together at the outset to pull away from the field.

Sainz qualified a career best second in Sochi, just ahead of Williams' George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

However, the back row starts of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, and Valtteri Bottas' demotion to P17 following an engine change, means that Norris and the Ferrari driver will have less potentially faster rivals to contend with at the start of Sunday's race.

"I either get a good getaway and it’s a direct race into Turn 2, or if not, obviously I’ll need to try to find a slipstream, because we know we are not the fastest on the straights and we are going to need to find some tow, some draft, because if not, it’s going to be a long run down into Turn 1," said Sainz as he laid out his options.

"I’ve been sharing rows with this guy [Norris] pretty much the last two years in Formula 1, so we know very well each other.

"Hopefully we can have a good start, both and keep pulling away because there’s going to be the guys behind coming, and that’s going to be when the fun starts.

Sainz was speaking on Saturday before the news of Bottas' grid penalty. The Scuderia charger will have one less Mercedes and Red Bull driver to contend with at the start, but Sainz still expects to have Hamilton and perhaps Sergio Perez breathing down his neck at some point.

  • Read also: Sainz aiming to 'put up a fight' from front row

"It's a strange circuit this one – because obviously race pace is important and we need to see how easy it is to overtake," explained the Spaniard. "Normally in the past it has been quite tricky.

"Obviously we have the two Mercs and the Red Bull that are going to be pushing us a lot.

"They are clearly, around here, half a second to one second quicker than us, so at some point they will put pressure on us and we will need to see if we can keep ourselves ahead.

"Obviously the target is to finish ahead of them, try to get Lando at the start although I am starting on the dirty side, he is at least starting on the clean side, and see from there if we can race hard and have some fun at the front."

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The post Sainz hopes to work with Norris to 'pull away' in Sochi appeared first on F1i.com.

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