The buildup to Sunday’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix featured clips of Lewis Hamilton commenting on his hopes for a Miami F1 Grand Prix from back when Liberty Media purchased the pinnacle of motorsport. Having got what he wished for, the seven-time F1 Drivers’ World Champion tried his utmost in the Sunshine State this past weekend but could only settle for P6 - just behind his teammate George Russell. However, strategical decisions were also not favourable for Hamilton - and he was quick to make this clear to his team.
Having qualified for Sunday’s race in P6, Lewis Hamilton had his eyes on those in front of him rather than behind. Unfortunately, having dropped two positions at the start after contact with Fernando Alonso’s Alpine, Hamilton had to regain composure as he awaited confirmation as to whether the contact had brought about any damage. This then saw Pierre Gasly as well as Fernando Alonso in front of the British driver.
Despite regaining these positions without too much delay, Hamilton’s race found him: in a DRS train; faced with uncertainty as to when to pit and suffering more Safety Car misery. This final blow came on lap 40 when a Safety Car on track meant his teammate George Russell could take an easy pitstop – having chosen to gamble by staying out for a one stopper. This then resulted in Russell being able to overtake shortly after (at the second time of asking) on track. However, Lewis Hamilton had also been asked if he wanted to pit and was puzzled as to how the responsibility was being handed to him.
This drama came late in the race as Hamilton’s side of the Mercedes garage, sat in P6 at the time, had to make a quick call as to whether or not to pit for fresh tyres following the Safety Car being sent out on track after Lando Norris’ crash. The final decision was handed over to Hamilton and such a request was met with the seven-time F1 Drivers’ Champion explaining that his team should be the ones deciding strategy – as opposed to him.
In a post-race press conference, speaking to select media including Motorlat, Lewis Hamilton remarked:
“It’s just that, when you’re out there you don’t have all the information you don't know where everyone is and where you’ll come out. You don't have the picture that they have on the screen so when you're given the responsibility to make the decision it feels like you're gambling, and I don't like that. So, I was like you guys make the decision. But either way we're just a bit unfortunate with the safety car today.”
Strategy was the downfall for Lewis Hamilton on this occasion but on the face of it, the W13 seems to be performing better so what were Hamilton’s thoughts on this assumption, have the team started to find solutions?
“Unfortunately not, we’re the same speed as we were in the first race so we just gotta keep trying. We haven't improved unfortunately in these five races but I'm hopeful that at some stage we will but we just gotta keep trying to keep working hard.”
Despite this, it was clear that the porpoising was less severe for Mercedes around the Miami International Autodrome. This point was one Hamilton agreed with as well and is surely enough to give his millions of fans the glimmer of hope that the issues will be turned around sooner rather than later.
“It wasn’t as bad today from race to race, track to track, surface to surface how high we put the car we can put the car high and then reduce it so today wasn't actually really bad - just not fast.” Hamilton stated.
Lewis Hamilton was once again full of praise for his teammate George Russell. Even though the other strategy was the better option for Russell, Hamilton was all too aware that the plan still needed to be executed.
“George obviously did a great job in that first stint. He was on the better tyre to start with. The hard tyre was the best tyre so in hindsight maybe we could have started on a hard tyre. but again, he did a great job to recover from his position and get the points. So, we got 5th and 6th today it's good points for the team.”
One slice of luck did fall the way of both Mercedes drivers when Valtteri Bottas went wide at turn 17 on lap 49. That contact in the barrier for the Finnish racer, although not terminal, was enough to see both Silver Arrows cruise past him. This promoted Hamilton to P6 - which no doubt reminded him that P7 should have been the maximum outcome today.
Whereas George Russell had benefited from being fortunate with the Safety Car (by his own admission), Lewis Hamilton pondered when his own fortune would change:
“Yeah, I’m waiting for it, I'm waiting for it but until then I'll keep working as hard as I can and working with the team, we got good points as a team today so. I thought the track was great. I think the chicane was not spectacular but that's the only weak point of the circuit.”
Lewis Hamilton signed off his remarks to Motorlat and select media by providing an insight into what his race days are like now, having been competing at the front for so many years.
“It’s still racing it’s just a different perspective a different point of view you always want to generate and try and go forwards, but I would say it's quite difficult…it is what it is and it's an experience that's for sure.” Hamilton said pragmatically.
Quite when this particular experience will come to an end remains to be seen. The fact remains for now, that with the third-quickest car on the grid, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team took maximum points on offer in Miami. Nevertheless, the team surely has their sights set on much more as the F1 circus makes its way back to Europe.
For the millions of Lewis Hamilton fans, they will always stand by their man. Their motto is ‘still we rise’ and whether it be rising to a podium or rising from P10, their unwavering support will be there. This in itself is yet another reason why Lewis Hamilton is so keen to once again give them something to cheer as soon as possible.