Mercedes "adamant" about pitting after Hamilton ignored first call

Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ Formula 1 strategists were “adamant” to pit Lewis Hamilton for intermediates late in the Russian Grand Prix after he ignored an initial call to come in.

Listen to this article

Hamilton scored his 100th grand prix victory after capitalising on a late rain shower in Sochi to beat McLaren's Lando Norris, switching to intermediates with three laps of the race remaining.

Hamilton was initially unsure about the decision as the majority of the track was dry, and was seen passing pit entry and continuing for another lap after receiving a call from race engineer Pete Bonnington to come in and switch to intermediates.

The decision to eventually come in paid off as the rain grew heavier, resulting in Norris spinning off and slipping all the way back to seventh place in the final classification after waiting two more laps to come in.

Speaking to Norris in the TV pen after the race, Hamilton said that he didn't want to come in as he was so close to the McLaren driver.

"My team were great today," Hamilton said to Norris. "But I ignored the first call, I was like, 'no, he's right there!'"

Mercedes F1 boss Wolff acknowledged after the race that it was always difficult for the driver to have the full picture, but that the team was aware of the growing rain shower that was coming.

"I think for the driver, it's always very difficult when half of the track is dry and the other one is just a bit humid," Wolff said.

"We knew that the big weather was coming. So Valtteri [Bottas] pitted the lap before, and then our weather frog and the strategists were adamant to pit."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, leaves his pit box as Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, comes in for a stop

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, leaves his pit box as Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, comes in for a stop

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Hamilton recovered from dropping to seventh on the opening lap to sit P2 behind Norris following the pit stops, and had reduced a gap of almost nine seconds down to just over one before the rain hit.

"We were in a way prepared to brace for the tough end, whether we could overtake Lando on-track or not," Wolff said.

"Then the rain hit, and things got pretty erratic at that stage. I understand why it was so difficult for McLaren to take this decision to stay out or come in.

"As a leader, you can only lose. We benefitted from that today, and it's spectacular for the fans I guess."

Hamilton thought that it would have been "tough" to catch and pass Norris for the win had the race stayed dry, having spent a spell earlier in the race stuck behind the second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.

Read Also:

Wolff felt it was "difficult to say" if Hamilton would have passed Norris without the late rain shaking things up.

"Lewis was stuck behind Ricciardo at the beginning of the race, although Ricciardo had DRS," Wolff said.

"I think it would have been difficult to pass. They had a fast car today, and it was well managed from his side.

"They had a bit of a fuel worry, it seemed, and then when he picked up the pace, he was very quick."

shares
comments

Related video

Lewis Hamilton's 100 wins – 2008 British GP, 2020 Turkish GP and more
Previous article

Lewis Hamilton's 100 wins – 2008 British GP, 2020 Turkish GP and more

Next article

Norris gets reprimand for Russian GP pitlane entry incident

Norris gets reprimand for Russian GP pitlane entry incident
Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Prime

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year.

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Prime

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022