Hamilton: Sticking to one-stop strategy only chance to beat Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes had no choice but to stick to a one-stop strategy to try and beat Formula 1 title rival Max Verstappen in Sunday's French Grand Prix.

Hamilton: Sticking to one-stop strategy only chance to beat Verstappen

Hamilton fell to a late defeat to Verstappen at Paul Ricard after an aggressive switch to a two-stop strategy paid off for Red Bull.

Hamilton took the lead from Verstappen on the opening lap after the Red Bull driver ran wide at Turn 2, only to drop behind again at the first round of pit stops.

Verstappen ran less than a second clear of Hamilton in the Mercedes behind shortly into the second stint, only for Red Bull to bring him again at the end of Lap 32.

Mercedes stuck to its plan and kept Hamilton on a one-stop strategy, but the seven-time world champion was unable to keep Verstappen back as he reclaimed the lead on the penultimate lap.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

"Congrats to Max, he did a great job today," Hamilton said after the race.

"They just had the better straight [line speed] all weekend, and I think just considering that we had such a difficult Friday, I'm really happy with today's result.

"Of course we didn't win, and we were in the lead, but I had no tyres left at the end, so yeah unfortunately lost the position. But still it was a good race."

Hamilton was heard regularly discussing the condition of his tyres throughout the race. After Verstappen pitted, Mercedes radioed Hamilton and said, "let us know what you think", but did not bring him in again.

But Hamilton felt Mercedes had to stay out as pitting in response to Verstappen would only have brought him out behind once again.

Read Also:

"He was already quite far ahead, so the only option I really had was to stay out," Hamilton said.

"Otherwise again, he was undercutting me , so he would just come out ahead and I wouldn't be able to pace as they are too quick on the straights.

"So, the only option was to stay out as long as possible and hope that the tyres held together."

The result marked Red Bull's third win in a row and saw Verstappen extend his lead at the top of the drivers' championship to 12 points over Hamilton.

"We've got to find some pace, that's for sure," Hamilton said.

"You can see most of the time we lost today was just on the straights, so we've got to definitely dig deep, try to figure out why that is, whether it's power or drag.

"But we've still got a good package."

Hamilton said that he was "not really sure" how he had dropped behind Verstappen in the first round of pit stops, only to be informed that the powerful undercut meant the extra lap he stayed out had cost him.

"We didn't know how strong that was going to be or not," Hamilton said.

"But what was really surprising was to run out of that front tyre early on, but obviously they had a good strategy and it worked really well today."

shares
comments

Related video

F1 French Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins from Hamilton at Paul Ricard

Previous article

F1 French Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins from Hamilton at Paul Ricard

Next article

FIA explains why Perez escaped F1 track limits penalty in France

FIA explains why Perez escaped F1 track limits penalty in France
Load comments
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021