Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

‘I can’t believe you guys screwed me’: Hamilton fumes at team on radio after defeat

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton lambasted his Mercedes team on the radio after their strategic call which swung the outcome of the Dutch Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver spent the race in the hunt for victory against Max Verstappen. However the team’s decision not to pit him during a late Safety Car period saw him fall to fourth place at the flag.

Hamilton became the race leader when Verstappen pitted and changed from hard tyres to softs. The Mercedes driver continued on his medium tyres.

Later in the Safety Car period, Hamilton’s team mate George Russell pitted to switch from medium tyres to softs. That relinquished second place to Verstappen.

When the race restarted, Verstappen immediately passed Hamilton to take the lead. Hamilton fell to fourth place by the end of the race, being passed by both Russell and Charles Leclerc, who also switched to soft tyres.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff came on the radio after the race and apologised to Hamilton, while reminding him the team had gone into the race willing to take risks in pursuit of their first win of the year.

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Hamilton’s radio messages after Safety Car

Hamilton restarted the race in the lead on a set of medium compound tyres, with Verstappen, Russell and Leclerc behind him on soft tyres.

Speaker Message
Bonnington So when the lights go out it’ll be strat mode five and you can use early overtake push. Push and hold available at your discretion.
Bonnington Safety Car at turn 12.
Bonnington Safety Car apex 13.
Bonnington Safety Car apex 14.
Bonnington In the pit lane.
Bonnington Strat five.

Verstappen passed Hamilton before the first corner after the restart.

Bonnington Verstappen passes Hamilton So you’ve got George 0.6 behind.
Bonnington And you have at least three or four laps of early push overtake if you need it.
Hamilton I can’t believed you guys fucking screwed me, man. I can’t tell you how pissed I am right now.
Bonnington Copy Lewis. We’ll chat afterwards. DRS has been enabled.
Hamilton Yeah I know I can’t close in.
Bonnington Leclerc 0.7. Remember that early overtake push.
Hamilton Gap behind?
Bonnington Sainz at 1.3
Hamilton Is everyone on soft tyres?
Bonnington Just those around us. We’ve got Sainz doing 15.0, he’s under pressure from Perez, he’s on the medium.

After the race Hamilton made a point of thanking his mechanics for their quick pits stops during the race, but made no mention of the others.

Hamilton How many laps left?
Bonnington It’ll be five when you cross the line.
Bonnington Gap to Sainz at 2.2.
Bonnington Sainz behind 15.6
Bonnington Leclerc ahead doing 14.5
Bonnington So one more lap. Go strat mode five to the end.
Bonnington Sorry about that Lewis. it was looking good. We’ll sit down and review the decision we made there.
Wolff Yeah Lewis sorry it didn’t work out. We took a risk, it didn’twork out, but let’s discuss between us in the office.
Bonnington Lewis if you go HPP one position 14 please.
Hamilton To all the mechanics, fantastic job today, that’s the best pit stops we’ve had all year so thank you for your continued efforts. Let’s keep pushing. We still got points today.
Bonnington Thanks Lewis, appreciate the message.

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Keith Collantine
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90 comments on “‘I can’t believe you guys screwed me’: Hamilton fumes at team on radio after defeat”

  1. Well, George Russell knew what he wanted and asked for it, you did not

    1. Exactly. George showed his class, today.

      1. It will be interesting to see what happened there. From an entirely selfish point of view, it was the right call for Russell to make, but one question I have is whether he chose to be selfish over following the plan of the team.

        It doesn’t really make sense to leave Lewis out on old tyres, but bring George in, if your aim is to take a risk for the win. And Toto says that’s what they were aiming for. But if you’re going to do that, it makes no sense to leave Lewis without George as the rear gunner.

        I have a suspicion the plan was to leave both cars out, but George decided otherwise because he knew it would be his best chance to get higher up on the podium. The trouble is that in such circumstances, the right answer would have been to pit both of them and secure 2nd and 3rd, given the tyre age and compound difference.

        1. George has the right to challenge for a higher finishing position. He isn’t a “rear gunner”, he’s (rightly) ahead in the championship.

          1. I’m not talking about him being a rear gunner in general, I’m talking about the specifics of this race. The only chance Merc had of taking the win was to use Russell as a rear gunner for those last few laps. It would have been the same situation if George had been running ahead of Lewis in those closing laps.

            Either Merc were fine with him changing tyres, in which case they undermined their own aim to win the race. Or George decided on his own, and undermined the team’s aim.

          2. Even before the race restart, I couldn’t see Max NOT overtaking both Mercs had they both not pitted.
            Had there been ~2-3 laps, I could see it just about happening, but given how quickly Max was able to overtake Lewis, had that been George with Lewis ahead, he would have still been able to catch up and overtake him before race’s end.

            imo George pitting was the only way both Mercs weren’t going to get overtaken by Leclerc.
            2-4 rather than 3-4 had they both stayed out.

          3. @oople I agree with you that Max was likely to easily overtake both Mercs regardless, if they remained on the old tyres. If Merc thought that too, keeping Lewis out was a waste of time and they may as well have given Red Bull something to think about by pitting Lewis and forcing RB to choose whether to take track position or be behind Lewis on the same tyre compound.

        2. Bill Van Cleve
          4th September 2022, 18:24

          It is time for Toto to go. He cost Lewis the championship at Abu Dabi and a win today.

        3. You’re right Simon

    2. George had nothing to lose, Lewis was fighting for the win…

    3. No. George realised he was going to win the race for Lewis and insted decided to pit. Good on George. Merc no longer have a bottas ironically the bottas stoppage should have helped mercedes.

      1. Obviously red bull asked tsunoda to stop to get a VSC to advantage verstappen, then mercedes asked his old team member bottas if he could park the car in the end of the finish straight to get a SC to advantage hamilton and russell.

    4. Fact Controller
      4th September 2022, 17:07

      It’s all a fix guys. Most races an Alpha Tauri will stop late on track to help Red Bull or an Alfa for Ferrari.

    5. Hamilton will have thought he had a car behind him playing defense. By allowing George to change strategies without informing Lewis completely changes the situation and does screw him over. He is right to be peeved to have been left in that situation by his own team.

      The decision made was right for George’s. It was probably the wrong call for the team result, and definitely the wrong call for team cohesion.

    6. True chacter shows in these situations…it quite easy to praise the team when you are winning all the time..

      1. Cos no other driver has ranted over the radio. None what so ever.

  2. We win as a team, we lose as… No. You guys screwed me over.

    1. His Teammate didn’t lose with him now, did he?

      1. Tommy Scragend
        4th September 2022, 17:26

        I didn’t see a Mercedes driver on the top step of the podium, so yes he did.

        1. I don’t see why Russel should care if Hamilton is to win a race or not. Not his problem, not at all. He just didn’t play stupid, and as a result of him using his own brain, he didn’t lose at least a couple of positions.

  3. I wonder if Toto will also blame Yuki and Red Bull like some very experienced F1-watchers on this site…

    1. Don’t forget Valtteri Bottas, who surely keeps a few unsettled issues

    2. @duuxdeluxe He’d be right to do so as their actions seemed a bit too good to be a mere coincidence.

    3. It was suspicious… Ive been watching f1 for 30 years. Ive seen my fair share of questionable actions etc throughout the years. To deny the issue with Yuki is t9 be naive considering…

      1. Ah yes, because some random person on the internet has watched F1 for 30 years, surely he knows it all!

        One could claim it has been F1 that has shown questionable stuff, I’d be more for the person watching having questionable eyes…

        1. Why insult me? Im just giving my opinion from experience. No need to attack my integrity.

          1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
            4th September 2022, 16:44

            You seem to have no problem to question the integrity of a whole team or actual 2 teams you do not support.
            Would you have said the same if it was Williams and Mercedes benefitting.

      2. Don’t get mad if your opinion is a bit laughable, and people react on that in a way you probably don’t like. Maybe next write ‘I think it’s suspicious, but I have no fact to prove that’

      3. 30 years, wow. That might explain it.

    4. I found this all very sus: the best tyres seemed to be the Hards – first letter “H” just like Hamilton’s name. Yuki stops, than the TV shows a VSC sign – V as in Verstappen. I cant see how one would requred more evidence.

      1. It’s clear that this conspiracy has been simmering for the last 108 years. Yuki and Toto are just prawns in a bigger game.

      2. My eyes are open now, I thank you.

      3. Why make it that complicated? Tsunoda is part of the red bull’s minor team and bottas is an old mercedes driver, which team did those help respectively?

        1. Personally, I blame the Illuminati. And the Masons.

  4. Brings back memories of Abu Dhabi. MB refusing to give up track position to pit for red tires. Then again, Lewis could have asked for reds like George.

  5. I’m interested that they allowed Russell to go onto the softs – a counter strategy to what Hamilton was doing and arguably the better choice to steal 2nd. If he’d stayed on mediums the pair would have defended 2nd/3rd from Leclerc, instead they let Hamilton drop down out of the podium. They never used to let Bottas change tyres to fight Hamilton in the past.

    1. @rocketpanda A better strategy would have been to use Russell on mediums to block Verstappen at the restart and give Hamilton a shot at passing him on soft tyre. However Russell called for the soft tyres – more reminiscent of Leclerc (passive strategy) v. Sainz (actively telling Ferrari what to do) than anything else.

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        4th September 2022, 16:45

        Like Russell could have blocked or kept Max behind!
        Max was by far the fastest in last 12 laps

        1. @jelle-van-der-meer Like I said, blocked Max at the restart, allowing Hamilton to take advantage and pass Max. Though still overwhelmingly likely that the Red Bull’s pace on the straights would have allowed Verstappen to pass. I don’t think Mercedes any realistic chance of the win after Verstappen could swap off the hard tyres. Hamilton could have had second though, obviously.

          1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
            4th September 2022, 17:23

            How would Russell have blocked Max, once Russell would have speeded up he isn’t allowed to slow down anymore, same that Lewis couldn’t have braked causing Max to overtake before the finish line.
            No chance for Russell to hold up or block Max down the start/finish straight as track is wide enough for 3-4 cars next to each other.

            They changed that rule quite some years ago that once the leader goes he isn’t allowed to slow down unnecessary anymore. If Lewis would have been smart he would have waited much longer before speeding up, already being on the start/finish straight, reducing chance Max could immediately overtake and increasing changes of problems behind him (like it happened in F2 race) and thus the safety car coming out again.

    2. If he’d stayed on mediums the pair would have defended 2nd/3rd from Leclerc

      No they wouldn’t. Leclerc overtook Lewis in the actual race with many laps to go – so had it been Lewis and George on old Mediums in your scenario, Leclerc would have overtaking George at approx. the same time, giving him still well more than enough laps to take on Lewis before the end…

  6. It only made sense for Merc to gamble for a win on old mediums if Lewis had that buffer to Max. The minute they let George come in, it was guaranteed to fail. Either keep them both out (best case 1-2/worst case 3-4) or pit them both (and end up with a 2-3). If one driver is operating under the assumption that the strategy department are managing both cars and they then let the other driver decide their own strategy, I can see why the first driver would be ever so slightly miffed.

    1. Exactly. For years we’ve heard Merc say they do a team strategy and their strategy is designed for the best result for the team. This clearly wasn’t the case, as doing the same with both cars would have been the best team strategy. The writing may be on the wall for Lewis, that Merc are more concerned about keeping George happy than they are in keeping Lewis happy.

      1. Even so, I got positively surprised by hamilton this season, I didn’t think he could beat russell at this age, but on pace he seems the best merc driver still.

      2. absolutely, lets welcome Lewis at Ferrari next year. As a model champion many times over, he should have preferential treaqtment over a rookie partner.

    2. Well said.

      I can see Hamilton making more of his own calls in situations like this in the future, as he knows the team are no longer running the strategy for the benefit of the whole team. It completely goes against the way the team has run strategy since Hamilton joined, and there is likely to be a rethink….

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        4th September 2022, 23:28

        @drmouse – There’s a huge difference though between having a number 2 driver supporting Hamilton to win a title and two equal drivers who are both out of the title fight. Russell is used to making these quick decisions to gain positions because in his years at Williams, that’s what he’s had to do. Hamilton has always left these decisions to his team. In this case, it didn’t work out for him… The team are generally cautious (see Abu Dhabi last year or Hungary where everyone but him pitted for a re-start) and that works when you’re dominant but when you’re the underdog, you have make aggressive decisions at the right time.

        1. I can’t agree with russell’s decision here: mercedes already got 2nd places this year, they’re trying to win a race, the only one who had a semi-realistic chance was hamilton, russell was slower all race.

  7. Fairly sure Hamilton was expecting them to hold track position for both drivers which was almost certainly sacrificing Russell’s 2nd place for 3rd or 4th but may have just been enough to take the win

    So instead of gambling for at best 1st and 3rd and at worst 2nd and 4th, they pitted Russell guaranteeing 2nd and 4th with no hope of the win while also inverting their drivers finishing position

    Yes Hamilton could also have done the strategists job for them and insisted on switching to softs as well to take a safe 2/3 finish, but the team should have been bold here to try to steal what could be their only win this season. Letting Russell take that stop gained the team nothing and lost them the chance at a win, it was a poor call

  8. What is the time loss for a pit stop with the entire field having to go through the pitlane? 4 seconds? Maybe even less.
    They could have pitted and stayed ahead of Verstappen.

    1. I do not think so, the cars were already bunched up. In that moment Verstappen already won.

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      4th September 2022, 16:47

      Toto in an interview explained his views and he said that pitting Lewis would have put him behind Max.

  9. @rocketpanda A better strategy would have been to use Russell on mediums to block Verstappen at the restart and give Hamilton a shot at passing him on soft tyre. However Russell called for the soft tyres – more reminiscent of Leclerc (passive strategy) v. Sainz (actively telling Ferrari what to do) than anything else.

  10. Wolff even admitted that Russell could not catch Verstappen, so if he was “trying to win”, leaving Russell out would have been the obvious strategy- you know, the way Perez blocks for Verstappen when that helps the team.

    Russell was selfish and the team let him get away with it. It sounded like they said “Stop, stop” before “Box, box”. They wanted him to stay out and he disobeyed, then they had cover their butts….

    The rules of VSC and Safety Cars are idiotic either way.

  11. Russell screwed you over by running away from being the buffer.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      4th September 2022, 16:48

      Would not have mattered, Max would have passed Russell immediately like he did Lewis and would have overtaken Lewis easily with DRS.
      Max finished more than 10 seconds ahead in last 12 laps of racing and Lewis mediums were only 9 laps old.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        4th September 2022, 17:24

        @jelle-van-der-meer No, it’s actually impossible to pass a car that doesn’t want to let you by. Russell could have held back Max for 10 laps, if he wanted to. He’s a fantastic driver and if he used the car as a way of saying “you’re not getting by” like Alonso did last year in Hungary and also like Perez did in Abu Dhabi, Max wasn’t getting by.

        He would have been forced to retire because of damage to his wing, tyre etc.

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          4th September 2022, 17:31

          Sorry but that is a nonsense comment – so why did Lewis drop from 1st to 4th in 12 laps, fairly sure he didn’t wanted to be overtaken.
          Both Alonso and Perez were overtaken and like Max overtook Lewis, Russell most likely would have been overtaken before turn 1. Keep in mind Max was on softs and Russell would have been on used mediums – so in your fantasy maybe but in the real world no chance Russell could have held Max back for more than 1 lap and cause Max to fall more than 5 seconds back from Hamilton. In the 11 laps remaining Max would have got close and overtake Lewis with DRS without an issue. Max was 13 seconds faster than Lewis in 12 laps without having DRS.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            4th September 2022, 19:38

            @jelle-van-der-meer You just need to move 1.5 to 2 times or not leave the space. Didn’t you watch Silverstone last year? You don’t need to break the rules – you just need to test them. You just get your shoulders out and make that car as wide as possible or cut in or push Max off the track like he did last year or brake test him on a corner.

          2. By your logic everyone who have ever lost an f1 race in a history of that sport have lost it because they wanted to lose, because

            it’s actually impossible to pass a car that doesn’t want to let you by

            , I’ve seen some nonsense written by f1 “experts” over the years, but seriously your theory gets the cake. And btw. it’s elbows out not shoulders out :/

          3. Um, sure. If it was that easy there wouldn’t be any passing at all. Some basic stuff about racing ignoring things like apices (cool plural of apex) and exit speed and lots of other stuff; blocking another car means you are not driving the optimum line and are going to go slower and eventually get passed. Plus no swerving……

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          4th September 2022, 23:31

          @freelittlebirds – so… you’re saying Lewis wanted to let Max past? Why didn’t he make it impossible? Did he want to let Russell and Leclerc past as well?

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            5th September 2022, 3:27

            @petebaldwin there’s a difference between slowing someone down and keeping them behind forever. Lewis just needed George to slow down Max. Didn’t you watch Massa and Maldonado in 2011?:)

    2. Russel chose to be 2nd rather than 3rd you mean. Isnt that what drivers do?