Lewis Hamilton has been requesting Mercedes for an opportunity to compete with Max Verstappen since the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP. However, Verstappen’s dominance in the RB19 has been unmatched, with only Sergio Perez managing to secure a few victories from him, and that too only at street circuits. Despite this, Hamilton was able to overcome Verstappen’s dominance and deliver the biggest surprise of the current F1 season. But what was the strategy behind this surprising win?
Verstappen’s competitiveness is extraordinary, as seen in his decision to pit at the very end of the Austrian GP just to secure the fastest lap. He strives for perfection and doesn’t want any mistakes. We also witnessed his frustration during the Belgium GP sprint qualifying when he had a rant with his engineer. However, Hamilton pulled off a miraculous performance at the Hungarian GP, surpassing the unbeatable Verstappen by securing pole position and setting a record for the most poles at a single circuit.
How did Hamilton succeed in defeating Verstappen despite driving a less powerful Mercedes? According to The Race F1 podcast, Hamilton utilizes a strategy reminiscent of fighter pilots during qualifying. The podcast hosts noted that Hamilton occasionally mentions the practice of holding his breath while intensely focusing on a specific corner during a qualifying lap.
Hamilton’s exceptional lap, which allowed him to take pole position from Verstappen and surprise the Orange army, may be attributed to his intense focus. Additionally, Hamilton’s remarks after qualifying provide insight into the high level of concentration he maintains while inside the cockpit.
After claiming the top position in Hungary, Hamilton appeared to be breathless during a radio conversation, as indicated by the podcast. During interviews following the race, he conveyed his happiness and revealed that he had lost his voice due to excessive shouting. This highlights the significance of defeating Verstappen solely based on speed, which held great importance for Hamilton as it marked the first time in the 2021 season.
Hamilton recognized the importance of this accomplishment, expressing, “The past year and a half has been incredibly intense. I’ve strained my voice from all the shouting in the car! The sensation is truly astonishing. I am immensely thankful to be standing here because the team has put in tremendous effort. We have been relentlessly striving to secure the top position during this period. It feels as exhilarating as it did the very first time.”
Hamilton’s success is undoubtedly influenced by his practice of holding his breath while deeply concentrating. This unique approach adds an intriguing aspect to his strategy, emphasizing the immense level of focus and determination needed to excel in the pinnacle of Formula 1 racing.
Hamilton’s tactics and focused mindset during qualifying have played a significant role in his ability to surpass Verstappen and produce the most surprising outcome of the F1 season thus far.