Mercedes: Staying out in Turkish GP could have dropped Hamilton to ‘back of the points’

Mercedes believes Lewis Hamilton would have fallen towards “the back of the points” had he not pitted during Sunday’s Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix after completing its post-race calculations.

Hamilton was left frustrated after Mercedes opted to pit him with eight laps remaining at Istanbul Park, dropping him from third back to fifth place after starting 11th on the grid due to a penalty.

Hamilton had hoped to complete the whole race on a single set of intermediate tyres after not pitting when the immediate cars near him did with around 20 laps remaining.

Mercedes explained after the race that it wanted to cut its losses by bringing Hamilton in when it did, fearing he would have suffered significant degradation in the closing stages.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was the only driver to go the whole race without pitting, but lost 18 seconds to Lance Stroll in the final five laps, and was fortunate to cling on to a point.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team’s calculations suggested Hamilton could have finished fourth without pitting - but only if he suffered no more degradation, which was unlikely.

“If they stabilised at the point that we brought him in, and they remained completely consistent there to the finish, we think he would have lost the place to Sergio [Perez], but he would have stayed ahead of Charles [Leclerc] who finished P4,” Shovlin said during the latest episode of This Week with Will Buxton on Motorsport TV.

“But that scenario is to say there is no more degradation, and it’s quite clear the tyres were dropping.

“The calculation that we couldn’t do until after the race was to take the degradation that we could see on Esteban. He was the only one who ran one set of inters to the finish.

“If we super-impose that degradation onto Lewis, then you could see that he’d actually be losing numerous places, almost dropping to the back of the points.

“On the basis of that degradation, he could even have been in a fight with [Carlos] Sainz at the very end.

“That’s a calculation you can’t do live, because you’re relying on information in the future.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, makes a stop

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, makes a stop

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton was brought into the pits to ensure that he returned to the track in fifth place, with Mercedes fearing he would have lost a place to Pierre Gasly and fallen to sixth had he stayed out any longer.

Shovlin explained that with the best-case scenario suggesting he would lose the podium anyway, the team thought it best to “cut our losses”.

“It becomes a bit of a gambler’s dilemma where you know you haven’t done the optimum thing already by that point, but how do you make the best of the remainder of the race?” Shovlin said.

“It was looking increasingly like stopping for another set, even if you’ve got to go through the graining, was going to be the best placed finish and the safest thing to do.”

Read Also:

Mercedes initially gave Hamilton the call to pit soon after seeing Perez come in, only for the seven-time world champion to ask that he stay out.

Shovlin said the Mercedes pitwall was “all on board” to stay out longer and “take some risks”, trusting Hamilton’s decision in the tricky conditions.

“The driver is one of the best-placed out there to know what the tyres feel like, to know what the grip’s like,” Shovlin said.

“They’ve got this feeling through all their many, many years of experience, of how far they can take those, which is why we are listening to what Lewis is saying through a lot of these periods.

“But in those races, it’s ever so difficult to get everything right. It’s just some of our decision was can we get ourselves back into a position to fight for the win, back into a position to fight on a podium.

“That was driving a bit of the risk taking, calculated risk taking, in that latter third of the race.”

shares
comments

Related video

The risk and reward teams faced in the Turkish GP tyre switch

Previous article

The risk and reward teams faced in the Turkish GP tyre switch

Next article

Heritage vote saves Adelaide F1 Grand Prix track

Heritage vote saves Adelaide F1 Grand Prix track
Load comments
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
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

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
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

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
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. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
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