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
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

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
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021