Lewis Hamilton’s cheeky Lance Stroll joke as Racing Point pile F1 pressure on Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton quipped Lance Stroll is driving the ‘third’ Mercedes after the Canadian sealed a place on the second row for Racing Point in qualifying for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The reigning F1 champion goes in search of an eighth win at the Hungaroring off the back of a scintillating showing in Q3.
Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas joins Hamilton on the front row, but they’re bound to feel the heat from the off.
Stroll and Racing Point co-star Sergio Perez qualified in third and fourth respectively in their much-talked about ‘pink Mercedes’.
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Racing Point’s RP20 car has drawn intense scrutiny due to its similarities with Mercedes’ title-winning W10 from 2019.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer insists the Silverstone-based outfit have done nothing wrong but that has not stopped Renault launching a protest.
The FIA are now looking into alleged similarities between the brake ducts on the RP20 and Mercedes’ car from last year.
Racing Point do enjoy a close relationship with Mercedes, who supply engines and gearboxes to their F1 rivals.
And Hamilton cheekily joked Stroll is driving one of “the three Mercedes” following qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“It felt great,” said Hamilton, when asked how it felt to go more than a second faster than last year’s pole-sitter Max Verstappen as he set a new track record.
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“In general, qualifying altogether felt really solid. The team have done an incredible job. Valtteri and I, we owe it really to this great group of people back at the factory and here who are just constantly pushing the bar higher.
“I’m really proud to work with them and to get to drive a car like this around the track is really awesome. Turn 11 was really flat for us today, which is quite insane, the speeds we go through there. It’s quite impressive to see how far the technology has advanced.
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“Valtteri did a great job today, applying a lot of pressure, but Hungary has always been a good hunting ground for me. But I’m aware that qualifying isn’t everything here and it’s a long race and a long run down to Turn 1. I want to say a big congrats to Lance as well, it’s awesome to have the three Mercedes up here.”
Racing Point are set to go through a period of transition in the winter as they are rebranded as Aston Martin for the 2021 season.
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Speculation has arisen over Stroll’s future, despite the fact his father Lawrence has ploughed millions of pounds into his racing career, Racing Point and Aston Martin.
Stroll insisted he is taking no notice of the rumours, which have seen Sebastian Vettel tipped to take his or Perez’s seat.
“I’m not too bothered about that,” Stroll said. “I’m just happy for myself and for my team for everyone that works so hard, week-in, week-out to achieve the best possible result.
“The rest is just kind of irrelevant. I’m just happy about the result today and we’ll see what the future holds. Not sure.”
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