Bottas gamble triggered Hamilton Sochi F1 intermediate tyre call

Mercedes says Lewis Hamilton’s critical switch to intermediate tyres that helped win him Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix was helped by his teammate Valtteri Bottas gambling on an earlier change.

Bottas gamble triggered Hamilton Sochi F1 intermediate tyre call

Hamilton had looked all set to finish behind leader Lando Norris in the closing stages of the Sochi race, before a late downpour turned the race on its head.

As the rain blew in, Norris elected to stay out on slicks while Mercedes convinced Hamilton to move over to inters – which ultimately proved to be the right choice.

Reflecting on why Mercedes got it right, on an afternoon that McLaren got it wrong and cost Norris victory, the team’s head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin says his outfit was boosted by knowledge of how the tyres were performing on Bottas’s car.

“The key to it was how you were interpreting the weather forecast,” explained Shovlin. “As you know, all the teams, we've got the same rain radar, we could see the rain coming in, and we could see that it was going to start light.

“What we could see was that it was then going to get heavier. And that was really the thing that we were reacting to.

“But, in some ways, our decision making was helped by the fact that Valtteri was out of the points and he had nothing to lose: so we were the first to make the jump.

“Then seeing how the tyres were working on his car we followed suit with Lewis soon after. And certainly not leading the race makes it a bit easier to take those decisions.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, 1st position, takes victory to the delight of his team on the pit wall

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, 1st position, takes victory to the delight of his team on the pit wall

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Mercedes had called Hamilton in for inters a lap earlier than he eventually did, but that request was ignored because the world champion was convinced that sticking with slicks was best.

But eventually critical information about the team's prediction for the weather, plus explaining how title rival Max Verstappen had stopped, won Hamilton over.

“The key point that we were thinking to get across to him was that Max had stopped,” said Shovlin.

“With Max having stopped, then he's certainly keen that we shadow what he's doing: even if it meant that we might leave the door open for Lando to take the win.

“And the other thing we just had to get across was that we thought the rain was going to get heavier. Therefore jumping early was going to be better.

“So it's just with all these things, it's very much a case of getting the right information to the driver, because we were quite clear what we wanted to do.

"They haven't got the luxury of rain radars and things like that, so it’s just a case of making sure that they can understand why it is we're trying to take that decision.”

shares
comments

Related video

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Previous article

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Next article

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling
Load comments
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looked back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021