Hamilton bored by lack of overtaking opportunities in Brazil

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Lewis Hamilton admitted that he felt bored during Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix due to the lack of overtaking opportunities afforded by the Interlagos circuit.

Hamilton spent all but three laps of the race running in second position behind teammate Nico Rosberg as he struggled to mount a challenge to the German driver in Brazil.

Early on, Hamilton closed to within 0.3 seconds of Rosberg, but could not follow closely due to the loss of downforce when running in the dirty air of the Mercedes ahead.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Hamilton was adamant that he had the pace to match Rosberg in the race, but that the lack of overtaking opportunities meant he could not attempt to pass for the lead.

“I had good pace, it’s just you can’t overtake here,” Hamilton said. “I was behind Nico and in traffic for some time, so I just killed my tires. It’s a shame because it’s such a great track but you can’t get close enough in the race.

“I don’t know if there’s other people overtaking, but unless you’ve got a huge advantage on the car in front… Motorsport is about fine line, that tenth of a second, but you can’t get close enough within that tenth of a second to fight. It’s a shame, because it would be good if we could do some overtaking here.”

Hamilton had asked Mercedes to switch him to a different strategy so that he could try and pass Rosberg, only to be refused by team’s strategists.

“I’m here to race, and when you have to do the same [strategy] it’s kind of set from the beginning,” Hamilton said.

“For sure, if there’s any other strategies, let’s do it, let’s take a risk, let’s do whatever, they’re like ‘look after the tyres’, I’m like ‘no I’m racing!’

“I think that’s what people want to see, but unfortunately today as I say I couldn’t get close enough to be able to put on a great race. It was relatively boring following in a tow.”

Hamilton did take a moment to praise race-winner Rosberg following his second straight win and recent upturn in form.

“Yeah, Nico’s been driving fantastically well,” Hamilton said. “He’s been doing a fantastic job in qualifying, particularly the last few races. Last race he drove fantastically well, today no mistakes, so he’s doing good.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.