Hamilton concedes Red Bull ‘did a better job’ in Zandvoort

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton conceded that he and Mercedes were simply left without an answer to the pace of Max Verstappen in the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix.

Hamilton trailed his championship rival to the flag, pitting on the penultimate lap to guarantee a bonus point for fastest lap.

It limited the damage somewhat in the title fight, with Verstappen now three points clear at the head of affairs.

“They just did a better job all round,” Hamilton said following Sunday’s race.

“I think they definitely were faster today.

“There wasn’t really a lot that I could do to do the times that he was putting in from stint one already.”

Mercedes tried to use strategy to usurp Red Bull, which had only Verstappen at the front of the race after a qualifying nightmare saw Sergio Perez start from the pit lane.

Hamilton was one of the first to stop, pitting after 20 laps to swap his soft compound tyres for a set of mediums.

Red Bull mirrored that call, stopping Verstappen next time around to leave Valtteri Bottas in the lead.

The Finn remained on track until Lap 31, pitting only after ceding the lead back to Verstappen after being powerless to defend against the local hero.

Mercedes then tried again, hoping to use Bottas’ tyre advantage to move him within the race leader’s pit stop window.

However, an early second stop for Hamilton ruined that plan, the Brit pitting on Lap 39 and Verstappen following a lap later.

Worse still was that Hamilton was sent back out in traffic, the team’s effort to undercut Red Bull having backfired.

“Pitstops needed to be on point, strategy needed to be on point, and traffic also, but none of those three were ideal today,” Hamilton lamented.

“Nonetheless, as a team, we got second and third, got some really good points on them (Red Bull) in the constructors – that’s a super important one.

“We’ll come back next week fighting.”

Formula 1 next heads to the Italian Grand Prix, opening practice for which gets underway at 22:30 AEST on Friday.

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