Staying out could've dropped Hamilton to ‘back of F1 points’ - Mercedes

Mercedes believes Lewis Hamilton would have fallen towards “the back of the points” had he not pitted during Sunday’s Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix after completing its post-race calculations.

Listen to this article

Hamilton was left frustrated after Mercedes opted to pit him with eight laps remaining at Istanbul Park, dropping him from third back to fifth place after starting 11th on the grid due to a penalty.

Hamilton had hoped to complete the whole race on a single set of intermediate tyres after not pitting when the immediate cars near him did with around 20 laps remaining.

Mercedes explained after the race that it wanted to cut its losses by bringing Hamilton in when it did, fearing he would have suffered significant degradation in the closing stages.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was the only driver to go the whole race without pitting, but lost 18 seconds to Lance Stroll in the final five laps, and was fortunate to cling on to a point.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team’s calculations suggested Hamilton could have finished fourth without pitting – but only if he suffered no more degradation, which was unlikely.

“If they stabilised at the point that we brought him in, and they remained completely consistent there to the finish, we think he would have lost the place to Sergio [Perez], but he would have stayed ahead of Charles [Leclerc] who finished P4,” Shovlin said during the latest episode of This Week with Will Buxton on Motorsport TV.

“But that scenario is to say there is no more degradation, and it’s quite clear the tyres were dropping.

“The calculation that we couldn’t do until after the race was to take the degradation that we could see on Esteban. He was the only one who ran one set of inters to the finish.

“If we super-impose that degradation onto Lewis, then you could see that he’d actually be losing numerous places, almost dropping to the back of the points. On the basis of that degradation, he could even have been in a fight with [Carlos] Sainz at the very end.

“That’s a calculation you can’t do live, because you’re relying on information in the future.”

Hamilton was brought into the pits to ensure that he returned to the track in fifth place, with Mercedes fearing he would have lost a place to Pierre Gasly and fallen to sixth had he stayed out any longer.

Shovlin explained that with the best-case scenario suggesting he would lose the podium anyway, the team thought it best to “cut our losses”.

“It becomes a bit of a gambler’s dilemma where you know you haven’t done the optimum thing already by that point, but how do you make the best of the remainder of the race?” Shovlin said. “It was looking increasingly like stopping for another set, even if you’ve got to go through the graining, was going to be the best placed finish and the safest thing to do.”

Mercedes initially gave Hamilton the call to pit soon after seeing Perez come in, only for the seven-time world champion to ask that he stay out.

Shovlin said the Mercedes pitwall was “all on board” to stay out longer and “take some risks”, trusting Hamilton’s decision in the tricky conditions.

“The driver is one of the best-placed out there to know what the tyres feel like, to know what the grip’s like,” Shovlin said. “They’ve got this feeling through all their many, many years of experience, of how far they can take those, which is why we are listening to what Lewis is saying through a lot of these periods.

“But in those races, it’s ever so difficult to get everything right. It’s just some of our decision was can we get ourselves back into a position to fight for the win, back into a position to fight on a podium.

“That was driving a bit of the risk taking, calculated risk taking, in that latter third of the race.”

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Heritage vote saves Adelaide Grand Prix F1 track
Previous article

Heritage vote saves Adelaide Grand Prix F1 track

Next article

How Ocon’s “dangerous” non-stop F1 strategy paid off

How Ocon’s “dangerous” non-stop F1 strategy paid off
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Prime

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Prime

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022
Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers Prime

Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers

As Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 career draws to a close, figuring out where he fits into the greatest of all time order is a tough and subjective call. With the aid of statistics, attributes and history, here’s how the four-time world champion stacks up in the debate

Formula 1
Nov 19, 2022