When the safety car was sent to the track due to Valtteri Bottas’ stalled car, Red Bull took advantage and fitted Max Verstappen with a soft set of tyres.
But Mercedes drivers Hamilton and George Russell stayed on the track and moved into the first two positions. A lap later, behind the safety car, Russell also switched to soft, while Hamilton remained on the worn middle set for the race restart.
The seven-time world champion then had no chance to defend himself against Verstappen at the restart. The Brit eventually dropped to a final fourth behind Verstappen, Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Already during the race, Hamilton spoke harshly about the team on the radio. “I can’t believe you pissed me off like that. I can’t tell you how upset I am right now,” Hamilton said over the radio.
After the race, Hamilton apologized for his words. “I was on edge with emotion and I apologize to the team because I don’t even remember what I said, I just lost it for a second,” Hamilton said.
“I think they know how much passion there is and I want to look at it as a glass half full. We came here from the last race where we struggled, today we fought against the red bulls, we were faster than most. If it wasn’t for the safety car, I think we would have ended up fighting with them for the victory with one stop, which I don’t think the others would have been able to do.”
Russell achieved the best result for Mercedes
George Russell completed his best race in the colors of the Mercedes team in the Netherlands. After five third places this season, the Brit finished second for the first time and equaled his career-best result from last year’s race in Belgium, when he finished second while still in the colors of Williams.
Mercedes also had a chance to win at Zandvoort. According to Russell, it would help the team to divide the strategies.
“I think it was an incredibly difficult decision for the team because if we had stopped both of them we would have given up the position to Max. Had we both stayed on track, we would probably have both lost to Max as well. Splitting the cars would give us the best chance to win as a team. One would stay in front of Max and one behind him and we’d see what would happen,” thinks Russell.