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
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

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 Plus

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 the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate 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 Plus

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 windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021