Hamilton ‘tried everything’ in battle against Ocon at Japanese Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton admitted on Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team just didn’t have the straight line speed needed during the Japanese Grand Prix Sunday, and that left him unable to pass Esteban Ocon in their battle for fourth place.
Again and again Hamilton approached the BWT Alpine F1 Team driver, but when he pulled back to attempt a pass, Ocon’s pace saw him drift far enough away from the seven-time world champion to prevent him passing.
Although he was forced to settle for fifth place on Sunday afternoon, Hamilton admitted he enjoys racing in wet conditions around the Suzuka International Race Courseand he was saddened they couldn’t run the full race distance after rain limited it to just a forty-minute sprint to the checkered flag.
“Once we started racing today I had a blast out there – it was so tough in the conditions, hard to see and that’s exactly how motor racing should be; a real challenge for all of us,” said Hamilton.
“I wish I could have gone longer and done more laps for the fans who waited so patiently, but we ran out of time and started to lose the light.
“In terms of my racing, I tried everything against Esteban but as we saw yesterday, we were just too slow on the straight. As soon as I pulled out of the trailer he was able to get away from me and I just couldn’t pass even though we had a big pace advantage.
“I was trying every line and got close but he rode really well and made no mistakes so that was the most we could do today. Now we have to pick the bones of those two races and learn our lessons to maximize the points we can score in the last four races.
Hamilton took the time to congratulate Max Verstappen winning the title in Japan, the Dutchman securing his second consecutive Drivers’ crown by dominating the race from the front.
However, Hamilton, who remains winless so far in 2022, says he believes Mercedes have the personnel to get back to the front of the pack and battle Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing in 2023.
“Finally, congratulations to Max – he did exactly the job he needed to do to win his second title,” he said. “We know what our problems are with this car, and I think we have the team to come back stronger next season.”
“I think we had a stronger car than the result reflected” – George Russell
Teammate george russell finished eighth in Sunday’s race after being forced to fight back through the field after being delayed in the pits for the intermediates as Mercedes twice piled up their cars in the pit lane.
The British rider believes that if not for the pit lag he could have finished sixth, with Russell finishing just behind the thrilling battle between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
Russell says they will have to look at what they could have done better at the Japanese Grand Prix, and he feels the double stacking in the pits cost him some positions.
“We have to review and see what we could have done better today,” Russell said. “I think we had a stronger car than the result reflected, and we could have been P6 today.
“I think the pit lane pile-up cost me positions, and that made the afternoon frustrating, so we have to look at that and see what the other options were. I made some good overtaking afterwards, but it was about trying to recover what we had lost.
“It was a strange afternoon overall: the conditions at the start were impossible, not with the grip but in terms of the visibility and the amount of spray that this generation of cars generates, and we have to pull the right ones. lessons from the incident with the recovery.” vehicle on the track as we drove behind the safety car.
“Overall it’s been a tough double-header for us, and we haven’t scored the points we should have – so we have to regroup, focus on the last four races and try to squeeze everything out of it. the car we have under us.
“And of course, congratulations to Max on his second championship; the result has been clear for a while, but he and Red Bull have done an outstanding job this year.