- Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes made a “f— up” that cost him victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
- The English racer was kept out on old tires for three laps longer than teammate Valeri Bottas early in the race, which saw him lose 10 seconds on the Finn during his first pit-stop.
- “That was just a f— up,” said Hamilton according to The Telegraph. “How have I lost that much time? I am basically out of the race.”
- The mistake meant Hamilton had to pit again with 11 laps to go, where he then saw Bottas and Sebastian Vettel overtake him to claim first and second position.
- Hamilton will now have to finish 14 points ahead of Bottas at the Mexican Grand Prix on October 27 to win his third consecutive driver’s championship.
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Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes made a “f— up” that cost him victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton was leading the race with 11 laps to go when he was called in for a second pit-stop, handing teammate Valtteri Bottas the win and allowing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel into second.
Things might have been different for him had he not been kept out on old tires for three laps longer than Bottas before his first pit-stop earlier in the race – a decision at the time he was furious with.
“That was just a f— up,” said Hamilton to his race engineer, Pete Bonnington, after losing 10 seconds to Bottas in the pit on the 20th lap, according to The Telegraph.
“How have I lost that much time? I am basically out of the race.”
After a third placed finish, Hamilton reiterated his frustrations at the strategy Mercedes used.
“Today could have been done better,” he said after the race. “There have been multiple scenarios this year where that has been the case. We should have got a one-two but the strategy was not optimum for me.
“I came out from the pits and realised I lost 10 seconds, and I am like, ‘Why?’ If they told me I would have been that far behind Valtteri I would have said no to them, and stopped earlier.
“Naturally, we will sit and talk to the engineers and strategists. There will be discussions when we get back.”
Mercedes won its sixth consecutive constructor’s championship on Sunday, however Hamilton may now have to wait longer than he had hoped to secure a third consecutive driver’s championship.
The Englishman’s third place finish in Suzuka means he will have to finish 14 points ahead of Bottas at the Mexican Grand Prix on October 27 to win the title.
This means Bottas would have to either finish outside the top three and Hamilton win the race with a bonus point, or finish tenth and Hamilton poll in order for the Englishman to be crowned champion.
The 34-year-old is not optimistic about his chances.
“I don’t anticipate it will be Mexico where I win the championship,” Hamilton said. “We still have a battle.”
Following the Mexican GP, three races remain of the Formula One season – in the United States, Brazil, and finally Abu Dhabi on December 1.
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