Hamilton: "No answer" to Verstappen F1 pace in Abu Dhabi qualifying

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he had no answer to Formula 1 title rival Max Verstappen’s blistering pace in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton: "No answer" to Verstappen F1 pace in Abu Dhabi qualifying
Listen to this article

Verstappen pulled off a brilliant effort in his first run in Q3 to deliver a lap that was half a second clear of everyone else – although it was slightly helped by a tow from teammate Sergio Perez.

But despite Hamilton improving on his second run to close the gap, with his first lap having been hurt by a lock up at Turn 5, Verstappen had pole in the bag.

Hamilton said he could not attribute any of the time deficit to any specific errors, and that the result was simply down to his Red Bull rival having better pace.

“Max did a great lap today,” said Hamilton. “We just could not compete with that time at the end there.

“It was looking really strong through practice. We just couldn't answer to that lap. That was a fantastic lap from him.

“But we're in a good position, I'd like to think, with our tyres for tomorrow. And I hope that we can have a good race.”

Hamilton’s only suggestion for why his Q3 pace could not deliver the form he showed earlier in qualifying was perhaps that his tyre preparation at the end was not as good as it should have been.

“On the first lap I dropped a little bit of time in Turn 5,” he explained. “But the last lap was nice and clean. I just couldn't go any quicker.

“I don't know if it's tyre prep, or whatever it may be in terms of the out lap, but nonetheless, I couldn't beat that time that he did today. He fully deserved the pole.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Erik Junius

Reflecting on his pole position performance, Verstappen said the car felt much better in qualifying than it had been throughout practice.

“I think we definitely improved the car again in qualifying because so far this weekend it was a bit on and off,” he said.

“I’m incredibly happy with this. I mean, this is of course what we wanted, but it's never easy, especially with their form the last few races.

“Now, I'm just looking forward to tomorrow, because that's what was the most important.”

Verstappen and Hamilton are on different strategies for the race, but the Dutchman does not feel starting on the softs will be that much of a disadvantage.

“I felt good on both tyres,” he said. “Of course, naturally now in the evening, it's a bit cooler. So it should be a bit easier for the soft tyres. But we'll see tomorrow.

“Of course it's very important to have a good start. And from there onwards, you know, we just try to do our race to our very best. And we'll see where we end up.”

While Verstappen has a great chance of pushing on to grab the F1 title, Hamilton said he was pleased to be on the front row – and especially to be in a position where he could see where his championship rival was.

“I'm still on the front row,” he said. “We've got the difference, obviously between the tyres, but I'm grateful I can see where he is! And then we can try and navigate from there.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

Bottas: Higher mileage F1 engine cost at least 0.2s in qualifying
Previous article

Bottas: Higher mileage F1 engine cost at least 0.2s in qualifying

Next article

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more
Load comments
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022