Hamilton: Red Bull has better set of strategy cards to play

Lewis Hamilton believes Red Bull strategically holds “better cards” heading into Formula 1’s 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with its drivers starting behind the world champion on different tyres. 

Hamilton: Red Bull has better set of strategy cards to play

Mercedes driver Hamilton upset the formbook to clinch pole position ahead of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, who both made mistakes on their final Q3 laps at Imola and missed their own respective chances to head the grid

Perez is starting on the soft compound tyres after he and Red Bull opted to prioritise ensuring a Q3 berth over using the medium tyres in qualifying’s middle sector, sacrificing what would have been a better starting strategy as a result. 

Hamilton and Verstappen did get through Q2 on the medium tyres, which means their race strategy can have great flexibility by being able to run longer in the first stint. 

But it is understood that the 2021 Pirelli C4 softs are not degrading rapidly in the weekend’s cool conditions, which increases Perez’s chances of taking the fight to Hamilton alongside his teammate. 

Speaking after taking his 99th F1 career pole, Hamilton was asked for his thoughts on how Mercedes might battle both Red Bull cars in Sunday’s race – the reverse situation to many events in recent seasons where only Verstappen has been able to bother the Black Arrows up front. 

“If we’re able to get off in order, then they obviously have a bit of a better set of cards in terms of strategy,” said Hamilton.  

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t pull out something unique and do something different.  

“I’m not really sure what happened with Valtteri [Bottas, the 2020 Imola polesitter who qualified eighth after topping both Friday practice sessions and Q1].  

“It’s very hard to overtake here so obviously we probably won’t have the support of him early on, but nevertheless maybe he will make it through.  

“But otherwise we’ve just got to focus on our job and try and do absolutely everything and more to keep these lads behind.” 

Read Also:

When asked by Motorsport.com to explain the difference between his two Q3 laps – the second of which was fractionally slower than the 1m14.411s that secured pole – Hamilton said: “I didn’t honestly know whether or not we could do it.  

“The first lap, for example, of Q3, started I think a tenth up out of Turns 1 and 2 and I knew that I was onto a good lap, but the second sector lost a little bit a Turn 12 [Acque Minerali].  

“The second time around, unfortunately came out of Turn 2 and 3 [Tamburello] a tenth and a half down, I think it was, or a tenth down, and by the time I got to Turn 9 [Piretella], I was a tenth and a half down, but managed to regain that through the middle and the last sector.  

“So, having those two together I think would have been the perfect-perfect lap – but I’m honestly so happy with that [first] lap.  

“The first lap really is obviously where it counted. So, grateful for it.” 

shares
comments

Related video

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

Previous article

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

Next article

Seidl: Self-criticism after Imola mistake typical of Norris

Seidl: Self-criticism after Imola mistake typical of Norris
Load comments
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021