Lewis Hamilton is confident that he could have posed a serious challenge to Max Verstappen for the win if Mercedes had made better strategic decisions during the Dutch Grand Prix.
The 38-year-old chose to start from 13th on the grid with the Medium tire compound instead of the Softs, unlike other drivers.
However, unexpected heavy rain hit the track on the opening lap. While most drivers immediately pitted for Intermediates on laps one and two, Hamilton took the gamble to stay out.
Despite the risky decision, Hamilton lost a significant amount of time to those on wet weather tires. Eventually, Mercedes brought him in to switch to Intermediates, but the delay in changing compounds caused him to plummet towards the rear of the pack.
Yet, Hamilton executed an impressive recovery drive that propelled the two-time F1 champion to a sixth-place finish.
Despite exerting immense pressure on Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in the final stages of the race, Hamilton couldn’t find a way past him.
“I feel really good. I didn’t really know how it was going to go naturally,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“And I sat here last night [Saturday] just really racking my brain like ‘where did we go wrong and how do we end up in this position?
“Then I was just working on trying to figure out how I can progress. I was the only one on the Medium tyre and I wanted to be offset to the people around me, not everyone on the grid.
“When that rain then came out, we as a team made the wrong decision. Ultimately, it was the team’s call and we paid the price for that.
“But then we came out last and I think after that just was just chasing, kept my head down.”
The seven-time world champion speaking on his recovery drive said: “I was really happy, I got past the McLaren on this track which is not so easy to do and I was quicker than Sainz at the end, just needed to get DRS.”
“I think the pace in those conditions, if we’ve made the right call we had the pace to be challenging the top two.
“We would have been challenging Max, to be honest. Particularly when we got to the dry. I mean, pace-wise, I think we weren’t terribly far off.
“Not saying that we would have beat them but it’s nice to think that way.”