Lewis Hamilton admits he sabotaged himself in Max Verstappen battle

Sir Lewis Hamilton lost a win and ended up fourth at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Sir Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he had forgotten to select the correct engine mode ahead of the restart at the Dutch Grand Prix, allowing Max Verstappen to pass him on the home straight.

Hamilton and team-mate, George Russell, had started the afternoon on the Mediums, and went long onto Hards to take them to the end of the race.

Ahead of them, Max Verstappen Charles Leclerc began on the Softs, and were planning the two-stop strategy.

Both Mercedes drivers cleared Carlos Sainz after a slow pit top from the Ferrari crew, and they also got past Sergio Perez after Red Bull left him out longer to protect Verstappen.

READ: Nico Rosberg would ‘put money’ on Mercedes beating Ferrari, but fires Monza warning

After Leclerc made his second stop, he ended up behind both Mercedes cars, but a Virtual Safety Car enabled Verstappen t pit and re-join ahead.

The silver lining was that oh Hamilton and Russell got a cheap stop too, allowing them to clear Leclerc.

The Monegasque was given a route back into it though by a late Safety Car, during which Hamilton was left out on track while Verstappen and Leclerc pitted.

Russell was brought in for Softs after the reigning world champion, leaving Hamilton vulnerable to Verstappen, whom he realised was on fresher tyres.

Article continues below

The seven-time champion fumed at his Mercedes team over the radio as he saw his win slip away, but he later put this down to high emotions while the German side took risks to try and win.

Ultimately though, both Russell and Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, reckon Verstappen would have got past both Mercedes even had they stayed out and fended him off together.

What also did not help was that, during the pit stop chaos, Hamilton forgot to switch the car back into race mode.

Although he did manage to flick it back into the right setting on the straight, the pace of the Red Bull on the straight was simply too much for the draggy W13.

“I was late to get to race mode, but I was on race mode on the straight, they were just so fast on the straight,” said Hamilton, quoted by Autosport.

This area, particularly heading to the Temple of Speed in Monza this weekend, is something the engineers in Brackley and Brixworth need to address.

“I think what we need to look at is that we’re lacking straight-line speed,” added Hamilton. 

READ: Dutch GP: George Russell makes ‘bit nasty’ admission about Lewis Hamilton incident

“Our car is too draggy, and before we fix that, it’s going to be very difficult to fight with them on the straight line, especially on a track where it’s difficult to overtake.

“You never say never, but the probability [of being able to overtake the Red Bull] is less than 50%.”

Hamilton was later passed by Russell and Leclerc as he finished fourth, with his 24-year-old team-mate claiming his sixth podium of the season.