It was a solid race for Lewis Hamilton, who ended the Dutch GP in P2, securing his starting position and scoring the extra point for the fastest lap. The English driver, however, wasn't completely satisfied with his and his team's performance, especially with the pit strategy.
He pitted twice before Verstappen, on lap 20 and lap 39, but in neither case he managed to complete the undercut. After the second, crucial stop he was caught up in traffic, whereas the Red Bull driver had free air pitting a lap later. He stopped a third time swapping his exhausted mediums for softs to secure the fastest lap.
ZAANDVOORT. What a circuit, what a race. It wasn’t our home crowd but it still fueled us all the same. Congratulations Max on the hometown win, you put up a great fight. SEE YOU IN MONZA pic.twitter.com/LQtLWoATdE— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 5, 2021
The Mercedes driver, who lost the championship lead to Verstappen, reckons that there is a lot to work on with the team, as he stated in the post-race press conference:
"I definitely think that wasn’t our best strategy but it was really hard out there. At the end of the day they were just too quick."
Hamilton was extremely critical of the strategical decisions implemented by his team, focusing on the wrongly-timed pit exit after his second stop:
"We’ll take it offline and try and figure out how we can improve it, but I think we stopped too early in that second part and it had just been a point where we got through traffic – I’d lost a good second to him [Verstappen] and I needed time to close that gap up before we did a stop. Then I came out behind traffic so couldn’t actually implement [the plan] and I don’t know how they didn’t see that."
He took time to compliment the race winner too: "But it is what it is and we work through it. Congrats to Max – they put an upgrade on at the last race and whoo – they’re quick!"
Although during the race he had complained on the radio about the state of his tyres, the World Champion said that in the end he had a good feeling with them, and was able to push in every lap:
"The tyres were actually pretty good this weekend – I was flat-out the whole race. There was no tyre management, I was just trying to keep as close as possible, but I tell you he [Verstappen] was fast today."
"They were on another level today that I genuinely couldn’t answer really to most of those laps," he concluded.
Mans gave it everything today. 💜🖤 pic.twitter.com/81UblnXMGp— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 5, 2021