Hamilton reveals secret to getting epic Leclerc pass done with ‘draggy’ Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton says he had to press “every button” on his steering wheel to overtake Charles Leclerc because his Mercedes F1 car was “very slow” on the straights. 
Charles Leclerc (FRA), Scuderia Ferrari Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20,
Charles Leclerc (FRA), Scuderia Ferrari Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG…

The seven-time world champion finished second behind dominant race-winner Max Verstappen in Sunday’s Mexico City Grand Prix after overcoming the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Leclerc. 

The highlight of Hamilton’s race came on Lap 40 when he pulled off a spectacular pass on Leclerc to grab second. Hamilton bravely dived down the inside of Leclerc’s Ferrari and almost put his wheels on the grass to get  the move done. 

Hamilton explained that he had to extract “maximum power” out of his Mercedes to compensate for his lack of straightline speed compared to the Ferrari. 

“This weekend we’ve been very, very slow on the straight,” Hamilton said in the post-race conference. 

“In general, we’re quite draggy on the straights, more often than not, but this weekend, like yesterday we were losing two and a half tenths just into turn one before we even started braking.

“[Ferrari] were very slippery on the straights so trying to follow a closely through turn 16 and 17 was really the only way that I could get close enough and have an opportunity to make the DRS impactful.

“Finally I pressed every button on the steering wheel, maximum power. I didn’t know how far across he was going to go but in a split second decision I decided to go to the right. 

“There was just enough space there but Charles was really fair. But yeah, great racing.”

Hamilton reveals secret to getting epic Leclerc pass done with ‘draggy’ Mercedes

Speaking to his former McLaren teammate Jenson Button in the post-race television interviews, Hamilton admitted he doubted whether he could make his medium tyres last the distance. 

"I wasn't thinking it was going to last," he said about that final stint on the mediums. "But I did some real sweet finesse. I was trying to drive like you.”

He added: “It’s about how much you're sliding the tyre, it's about the balance that you have. If you have too much wing in… too much front end in the car, then the car is like… imagine it a bit like a seesaw. 

“You want to start a long stint – or a stint – with the car understeering, because as the rears go off, the seesaw tips, and then it goes to oversteer. And when it goes to oversteer, that's when you're lost most often. Unless it's the other way around, where the front tyres are the issue, for example. 

"And, just finding that balance is very, very difficult. And it's… you go out and do your laps of the grid, for example, on a Soft tyre, it requires a different setting for the Medium tyre. And I think just really then, just focusing on all of the three sections and figuring out how to… where you can and can’t push.

“I think today was just a really great balance of lift and coast and tyre saving. And it's a technique. I mean, all the drivers know about it.” 

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