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.

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
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021