Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

Hamilton says he didn’t put up a fight against Verstappen

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton says he didn’t make it difficult for Max Verstappen to pass him for the lead in Malaysia as he was thinking about the championship situation.

Hamilton started the race from pole position but said he expected Red Bull and Ferrari to be quicker, which meant he prioritised finishing in front of title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Sepang International Circuit, 2017
2017 Malaysian GP in pictures
“Going into the race we knew that Ferraris had something like eight tenths on us and we knew that the Red Bulls had four tenths on us,” said Hamilton. “And it was exactly that, they had four tenths on me.”

Verstappen passed Hamilton early in the race and went on to win. “Naturally I wanted to put up a bigger fight for Max,” Hamilton admitted.

“In my heart I would have put a bigger fight on. But then I have to think long-term and not so short so I didn’t make it too difficult for him to get by. And that’s difficult for me because I’m a fighter. But at the end of the day I needed to bag the points. They were quicker than us.”

Hamilton said he had some problems in his car at the time Verstappen caught him. “They were de-rating quite a lot so it made it easier for him to get close.”

The difficulties Mercedes experienced at Sepang prove their car is not as dominant as some have claimed, Hamilton said.

“People have been talking all year that we have the best car,” he said. “It’s a fact that some races the car has worked out to be better.”

“But overall I think globally we have not got the best car and we’ve done an exceptional job with what we have. There are some real big problems but I can’t really explain to you what they are. We really need to make sure we rectify them for next year’s car if we’re to have any chance to fight both these teams next year when they step up their game.”

“I think this year we can just stay there or thereabouts. I don’t know which one of these next races is going to be good for us and which races are not but we’ll do everything we can to try and stay ahead.”

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix

[catlist id=15970 numberposts=5 excludeposts=this]Browse all Malaysian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

51 comments on “Hamilton says he didn’t put up a fight against Verstappen”

  1. Max to Mercedes…. PLEASE… would love to see him fighting with Lewis…

    1. Excuses and a deliberate attempt to boast his achievements.
      Mercedes isn’t the current world champion and the best PU and also the team with most victories, Bottas has won too Lewis, so how can he say what he’s saying?
      Apparently Lewis had some clipping but thankfully his engineer got him to change strat before he was overtaken, Lewis was supposedly on normal power when Max went past him.
      He just can’t admit it. Lewis got caught out.
      On high fuel you can race, aero is not so overwhelming.
      By the way Lewis you are doing a great job undermining your co-workers.
      I know what Hamilton wants to hear “thank you” for letting Max win.

      1. It was the normal race start map, where the batteries start fully charged for maximum boost, then get depleted so the MGUH works hard to replenish that energy, hence the “de-rates”. The Merc just isn’t usually pushed along the road so hard in the first lap or two.

      2. Your entire post is nonsense.

        Excuses and a deliberate attempt to boast his achievements.

        What is? that “[he] didn’t make it too difficult for him to get by”? Because you just need to watch the race to see that was true. He made a gentle move to the inside but clearly didnt try to close the door on Max because, as he said, they need to bag the points today.

        Mercedes isn’t the current world champion and the best PU and also the team with most victories

        1) They are
        2) They do
        4) Most victories? When? Ever? This season?

        Bottas has won too

        He has, so? Im not sure what that has to do with Max’s overtake?

        Lewis, so how can he say what he’s saying?

        Saying what? What are you taking issue with?

        Apparently Lewis had some clipping but thankfully his engineer got him to change strat before he was overtaken, Lewis was supposedly on normal power when Max went past him.

        Even Max said post race he could see Lewis was clipping, it was still happening on the start finish straight when Max went past.

        He just can’t admit it. Lewis got caught out.

        Maybe that is just what you want to believe? You do have a habit of this

        On high fuel you can race, aero is not so overwhelming

        1) Context? like literally what does that have to do with anything else?
        2) You are wrong. aero is just as important at high fuel, maybe even more so as the cars have a higher mass which increases the force needed to turn them.

        By the way Lewis you are doing a great job undermining your co-workers

        I guess Bottas, Wolff and Lauda are also all doing a great job undermining their co-workers? Blatant unjustified Hamilton bashing right there.

        I know what Hamilton wants to hear “thank you” for letting Max win.

        That’s what you think, doesn’t make it true

  2. Its pretty obvious that Hamilton is in Nico Rosberg mode now, he will safely finish top 5 in the last races.

    1. Interesting how Hamilton fans said Rosberg wasn’t a racer for doing it. We’ll see what Hamilton does.

      1. @hugh11 Well im no Hamilton fan but i said that about Rosberg and its the same thing now with Hamilton. Hamiltons race today was as dull as dull can be and coupled with their teammates being nowhere this looks to be an fantasticly boring conclusion to an very interesting championship fight.

        At least Max finishing a race and Vettels hunt for a podium was exiting.

      2. Rosberg’s lead was such he didn’t have to attack.

        Lewis may yet still have to.

      3. Interesting how Hamilton fans said Rosberg wasn’t a racer for doing it

        Not exactly the same thing though is it. Rosberg was willing to concede to his championship rival. We have yet to see if Hamilton will do that.

        1. Hence the last sentence –

          We’ll see what Hamilton does.

          1. Interesting how Hamilton fans said Rosberg wasn’t a racer for doing it

            And yet your first sentence implies you think they are equivalent. Because Rosberg never did what Hamilton did in Malaysia

    2. With 5 races to go and Hamilton only having a 34 point lead, he has to do better than finish top 5. He has to stay ahead of Vettel, or do no worse than come 2nd to Vettel.

      I can even see a scenario where Mercs assist the Red Bulls by holding up the Ferraris. ;)

    3. He has learnes from the best. ;-)

      Honestly, a very smart decision by Hamilton which shows why he will become world champion yet again this year.

      Verstappen drove tremendously today and even if Hamilton would’ve put up a bigger fight, Verstappen would’ve won anyway. Red Bull was just quicker today. Ferrari in fact was the fastest, so it’s a shame we didn’t see Raikkonen in the mix. However, Max deserved some lack of bad luck again.

    4. Hamilton’s race was against time in Malaysia and not against Verstappen.
      Had Hamilton tried too hard to defend, he’d have still got passed in the end and lost so much time that both Vettel and Ricciardo, would have been a serious threat.
      Hamilton didn’t have the pace to fight for a win so it’s not like he turned his engine down. He was fighting to finish in the best possible position, which is totally different from having a winning car and chasing second.

      1. Ham didn’t have Ver pace as Ric didn’t have Ham pace, that makes the cars about even, only the driver made the difference.

        Ham didn’t put up much of a fight as he said so himself, maybe cause he had no answer, Ver put his car where Ham had no answer…just good racing.

        1. maybe people forget HAM is on the limit with his PU parts without penalty! Vettel took his one already, plus with upgraded engine… 5 races to go on a good used engine vs a brand new engine… Some people think Ham just let him sail past, he had nothing to gain pushing hard and everything to loose (anyone last year Msia?) Besides at hot temps, mercedes are more prone to failure and performance degradation than their rivals… we have seen this before! also Mercedes won here in 14 only comfortably due to new PU regulations beginning of season etc helped them! next two years, we know what happened… Be smart guys, if Ham had his engine replaced or had needed those points, it would worth him the risks… it didnt matter to him, he just needed to nurse the car home, he did just that! WDC is a long game… each races are long races, you dont win WDC at the first corner or over a single race distance!

          1. Comment of the day for me. We all love to see the drivers pushing hard and going flat out, but the current regulations mean that all the drivers have to choose a moment to back up and save their engines, gearboxes, etc. Ham chose to do so today and it looks like it was the right decision.

        2. Ricciardo was faster than Hamilton even with a broken front splitter. The other thing that kept him from closing was his extra late pit stop. But timing showed mercedes consistently half a second slower in sector two. Tyre life was attrocious as well. Any how Hamilton had wasted time fighting Max he would have lost to both Ricciardo and Vettel so wise decision to let Max past.

  3. I think it’s pretty clear that Hamilton defended but by no means to the limit. I also don’t think Mercedes and Lewis had the pace vs Red Bull and Max to defend it all race long even if he did go toe to toe. So all fair does.

    1. I think HAM had the car and could have won this had he managed to keep in front of VER. Would have been Spa revisited for HAM, it’s just he couldn’t find any magic anymore in front of VER. But, HAM definately had the car to win it, I think he did not want to risk too much tho. His Softs were performing stellar, just like at Spa.

      1. What HAM did was sensible; fighting with VER would’ve done him no favours not to mention the other stuff going on with the car that he didn’t comment on. Objective to stay in front of VET and extend lead was the right call. All in all it was a good team performance from both Red bull and Mercedes today.

        1. joe pineapples
          1st October 2017, 11:29

          It was a good performance from Lewis today, but Mercedes not so much.

      2. @mg1982, we saw today that, if you timed it right, the undercut was quite powerful in this race – so Verstappen probably could have undercut Hamilton quite easily.

        Alternatively, if Mercedes tried to undercut him, he could have gone longer and used a fresher tyre advantage, plus the underlying pace advantage, to make a move on track – Verstappen made it clear after the race that he had performance in hand (i.e. as soon as he had the gap up to about 9 seconds, he just backed off and paced himself relative to Hamilton). I think that he realised pretty quickly that it was more a question of when, not if, Verstappen was going to get past him.

    2. Anyone trying to defend against Max had better watch for the unexpected… Hamilton would knows this.

      1. Which is also a huge bonus to Verstappen, even Hamilton is wary of him. And Hamilton knows he gave him this edge today, which is why he was so concerned to tell MV why he let him past. But to a certain extent the damage is done.

        1. I don’t think so at all, today was clear for Hamilton. We know that both Hamilton and Vettel are fierce wheel to wheel competitors and not shy to bang wheels when needed. We will see this manifest with Max, to somehow imply Max has a psychological edge here a la Senna is not at all the case.

          I am sure we will see them involved in some race ending battles where neither part backs down, Hamilton and Vettel are no strangers to that.

          1. The wheelbanging incident with VET proves otherwise. The Vet attack on Verstappen in Singapore proves otherwise.. Ham did know better than block a marauded Verstappen. All in all, he definitely has the “psychological edge”.

          2. And Lewis says “that guy” when he has to overtake him earlier in the season says it all.

          3. Well it’s maybe relative. I think Verstappen will have the edge until it matters to him more (i.e. when he’s in a real championship fight and can’t risk as much) and Hamilton can once again risk more. For now, though, it gives Verstappen a green light until the end of this season at least.

          4. @david-br That’s a better way of articulating it thanks.

          5. We saw it last year in Malaysia; Daniel and Max on their way to a double podium fighting for the lead. A real but clean fight, no pushing each other off track even where that would be ‘allowed’.
            And Max let it slip away as it wasn’t possible without taking more risk than the situation allowed for.

        2. Yeah, everybody on the grid will back off when Verstappen goes for it. They know he’s fully committed.

          Does that remind you of any former drivers that had quite a bit of success in F1?

          Some call it immature and others call it reckless. I for one would tend to call it smart, you gain a psychological advantage. I served both Senna and Schumacher well throughout their careers. Often you would see the driver in front just give up when they reeled them in!

    3. In Malaysia its easy to overtake, if Lewis happens to be in the lead in Suzuka, Lewis will defend his position easily, the only way Max will pass is through the pitstop. The Long straight is not long enough with only one DRS zone and from turn 14 – 15 the Merc has the power to leave RBR for dead.

  4. I think it’s more, he defended his position but didn’t put his race at risk, rather than he didn’t defend at all

  5. Fair enough. Fighting with max more often than not leads to a collision.

    Better 18 points than 50% chance of 0 points.

    Vettel should have done the same last race and it would maybe be him second and Ham 4th..

    So from championship perspective it makes sense.

  6. Besides the issue of the D’reg at the start of the race, the only technical issue mentioned on the Mercs were the tire temperatures. Apparently, Hamilton had to manage his tire temperatures. What would cause this?

    I can see how the brakes temps might be an issue for Hamilton, known for his late braking. A circuit like this one with so many tight corners will place a greater demand on the brakes, especially when the Mercs are trying to make the most of their straight-line speed, but tire temps?

  7. Sensible. If he had managed to keep VES behind until the first stops, then the undercut would have seen VES take first anyway.

    If HAM had that attitude in 2007 he would have another WDC to his name.

  8. Max had the corner, so the only way Lewis could have held him off was if he’d hung it around all the way on the outside and kept the line into turn 2, but seeing as Max was ahead by the turn-in to turn 1, there was no chance for Lewis to counter attack.

    Lewis is still a racer, when it matters he’ll still attack, wheras last year Rosberg didn’t need to, Lewis may yet still have to.

  9. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t put up a bigger fight. At the same time though I am relieved he finished ahead of Vettel. I still have trauma from last year’s Malaysian GP so this was a good result for Lewis.

    I think we can see now that Bottas may still be mathematically in the championship race, but he has nowhere near the pace of Vettel and Hamilton. He has been inspiring in some races but also equally disappointing in many others. He may go ahead and take points away from Vettel, but I think where it is necessary, Mercedes should back Hamilton as their driver for the WDC.

    1. Mercedes should back Hamilton as their driver for the WDC.

      TBH I thought from this race they already have.

      1. And have done so for long time

  10. Of course Hamilton will win the driver’s title for the same reason he won in 2014 and 15 : Mercedes is the best so all hamilton need do is out score his team mate . Boring but, fact.
    What I am looking forward to seeing is when Hamilton is awarded the driver’s title or when it is announced that Vettel is mathematically eliminated will Hamilton “take a knee”.
    Afterall he seems to think that being the recipient of a Silver Arrow and the advantages that come with it make him (1) an expert on the politics of a country he is not a citizen of and does not even live in ( although one would think that his equally well position and good friend Justin Bieber has kept him informed of the salient issues ) and (2) that his junior college art exposure leads others to failure his opinion about citizen police interaction in what is to him a foreign country .
    I assume that Liberty has been asking itself how to bolster F1 sagging popularity . Getting drivers who are interesting and likeable would help. Aside from Kimi Raikonnen who does F1 have ? Few ,most have displayed repeatedly that they have no respect for each other ,for the rules of Sportsmanship or even their own teams and team mates .
    Case in point when you see an interview with Indycar’s Helio Castroneves you are struck with what a nice person he is and the joy he has for his sport and life in general but, when you see an interview with Max Verstappen ( I for one ) am struck by what a self -satisfied egocentric and immature person he is and I make a mental note not to buy an Red Bull product .
    This year I cancelled trips to both the Canadian and the US grand prix events and judging by the falling popularity of F1 others have had like reactions to the drivers and lack of competition the circuit offers .
    I say to Liberty ,please fix F1 ,there is much to do and start with the faces of the sport : right now you have little to offer and some of what we see is downright ugly.

    1. What a load of BS

    2. Taking a knee is not about politics. Don’t bash what you dont understand..

    3. Sigh

      Of course Hamilton will win the driver’s title for the same reason he won in 2014 and 15 : Mercedes is the best so all hamilton need do is out score his team mate . Boring but, fact.

      In 4 of the last 5 races the Ferrari has be as good if not better than the Merc. What you said is not a fact.

      What I am looking forward to seeing is when Hamilton is awarded the driver’s title or when it is announced that Vettel is mathematically eliminated will Hamilton “take a knee”.

      Take a knee? You mean will he peaceful protest racism? Maybe but I don’t see what that has to do with him winning the championship.

      Afterall he seems to think that being the recipient of a Silver Arrow and the advantages that come with it make him (1) an expert on the politics of a country he is not a citizen of and does not even live in

      He doesn’t, you have just made that up.

      that his junior college art exposure leads others to failure his opinion about citizen police interaction in what is to him a foreign country

      This is not even a valid sentence.

      Aside from Kimi Raikonnen who does F1 have ?

      Raikonnen? Interesting? The guy who basically doesn’t care about anything?

    4. Justin Bieber is Canadian, so what would he know?

  11. Of course he didn’t….

    Can’t stand Hamilton.

    1. These year must have been hard for you then

  12. I think Max has already won many battles in the minds of drivers. They are afraid of him.
    So that’s another sign of greatness. That’s what Senna and Shumacher did.

    What Max showed today was exellent driving. He won the race by not letting Bottas pass. Had that happened it would have been much harder to win.

    What Max showed is that he is “the Master of Grip” in the way he took the advantage on Bottas using the outside.
    He also showed that he is “the Master of Late Breaking” by braking very late on Lewis without blocking a wheel. He has done that many times before to prove he is the Master.
    He also right away took the chance to pass Lewis that was given him without hesitation successfully, which he has shown before also many times.

    I’ve been waiting for the Max/Lewis fight for a long time. Today it happened and Max has gotten into Lewis mind too. I think Lewis had no chance to defend anyway, because Max was next to him on the inside.
    I believe Lewis didn’t expect it, because he should have defended the inside. Max was also not planning on crashing into Lewis , because he wanted to win the race.

    Lewis had no hammer today.

  13. Lewis is smarter than Seb a few weeks ago was. Why put up a fight to the death with Max who is no threat to the championship?

  14. Lewis gave Max the inside. That’s the dangerous side, because you can get torpedoed. So not smart for saving your championship.
    I believe Lewis didn’t see it coming or he didn’t want to be humiliated by a Max outside overtake.
    I personally also was surprised that Max could make the overtake, because it looked like he couldn’t make it. But he did.
    Shows his skill.

Comments are closed.