Hamilton pleased to dispel chassis change 'myth'

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12. 19.06.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard
© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton was pleased to put an end to gossip about whether the chassis he had picked up from Valtteri Bottas this weekend was fatally compromised in some way.

The chassis switch between the pair was made after Bottas suffered a wretched time in Baku. The Finn has been much happier at Circuit Paul Ricard and was faster than Hamilton during both of Friday's practice sessions.

But when it came to qualifying, the balance of power switched back to the reigning world champion who secured a front row starting position by more than a tenth of a second over Bottas.

However Hamilton admitted that it hadn't been easy.

“It’s been a really, really hard weekend – mentally, not physically – just trying to get the car into a happy place,” he told Paul di Resta and the media in parc ferme after the end of qualifying. “You wouldn’t believe how many changes we’ve made since FP1.

"[We've been] going round and round chasing the tail and we ended up coming back to something similar to what we started," he continued. “But I’ve generally been unhappy in the car all weekend."

Referring to the media speculation about the 'unlucky' chassis, he added: "I saw you coming up with some myth and I was able to prove it wrong!

"[Thanks to] the quality of our engineers’ work, all the cars are exactly the same," he insisted.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. 19.06.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard

However it still wasn't quite enough to allow Hamilton to stop Red Bull's Max Verstappen taking pole position at a circuit that has been a Mercedes stronghold ever since it returned to the F1 calendar in 2018.

"Congratulations to Max. He did a great job today, and they’ve been incredibly quick,” Hamilton acknowledged. “You’ve seen they’ve got a new engine this weekend; not a new spec as far as I’m aware, but they’re quick on the straights.

“I think it was a lot of time [that we lost] on the straights today," he speculated. "In long run pace, I think they are a tenth or two quicker than us, but my car is in a much different place now.

"We’ve got a race on our hands and we’re loving the battle, so we’ve just got to keep pushing, keep fighting and giving it everything.

“I’m just looking to stay hopeful and do everything I can. Obviously [starting from] second you’ve got a fighting chance down into turn 1," he said. “There’s going to be some interesting strategies tomorrow.

"I don’t know, maybe it’ll rain so you’d actually be able to see the 'rainmeisters' get to do their thing. I’m excited!”

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