Mercedes surprised at the end of Q3 in Portimao with the decision to send both pilots out for the final attempt on the tougher medium tyres. According to Lewis Hamilton, the team left it up to the drivers to decide which tyres they want to ride on the track.
The first time in Q3, Hamilton and team colleague Valtteri Bottas were still riding on the softer tyres, but contrary to common practice, they both opted for the medium tyre. Hamilton even went out a little earlier to add a second attempt –the golden decision.
Valtteri was over the fastest all weekend,”says Hamilton, who could sit in front of his teammates in his second round around 0102 seconds.” I didn’t know if I’d get a round to keep up with him. I’ve always missed one or a half tenths of a note, but the last decision gave me the opportunity.”
“I liked the prospect of an extra round, so I decided to do it. And Valtteri’s only been out for a round, but he’s done a great job anyway,”Hamilton praises.”He’s a great guy. It was very, very hard, and I had to get it all out. Fortunately, I got the last sector right.”
Hamilton prophesied”very difficult race”
Hamilton says that the choice for medium tyres was actually against any intuition, because usually the soft tyre on a lap of the faster. In Portimao, however, the drivers had problems bringing the tyre to temperature, so that it could not offer the usual advantage over the tougher tyre.
The two Mercedes on the medium tyres will also start the race.” I guess it’s going to be a very difficult race,”Hamilton predicts.”I’m not sure. Especially the tougher tires do not work for several rounds. It will therefore become interesting at the beginning.”
“We will of course lose some performance to Max and the guys behind it on Soft. But I really don’t know what I can expect tomorrow. It could rain, and if it does, it’s gonna be the hardest day for all of us. Wind and rain –that would really be like ice.”