Grand prix

Mercedes ‘certain’ Hamilton would have lost places without late F1 pit stop | F1

After starting the Turkish Grand Prix from 11th, Hamilton made his way up to fifth fairly quickly.

In a bid to finish on the podium ahead of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc, Hamilton wanted to finish the race on the same set of intermediates that he started on, while his rivals switched to fresh tyres.

Due to safety concerns and Hamilton losing time to the cars behind, Mercedes called him in with eight laps to go, dropping him to P5.

The drying track meant Hamilton couldn’t get his tyres to work, nearly falling into the clutches of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

Explaining why Mercedes ultimately stopped Hamilton late on, Shovlin cited Esteban Ocon, who was the only driver to complete the race without pitting for new tyres and the significant time he lost in the closing laps.

“If you look at Esteban [Ocon], he got overtaken by Lance [Stroll] about five or six laps from the end and finished 17 seconds behind them, and that’s how quickly you fall off,” Shovlin said. “That’s what was in our minds. It’s not just ‘can we keep going at this pace’. Esteban lost a further two seconds in that short run to the finish, and that’s where it goes wrong.

“We’ll go through it and we’ll double-check, but we’re fairly certain that he would have lost those two places, if not been at risk of more.”

Hamilton voiced his frustration over team radio, with several exchanges with race engineer Peter Bonnington.

Shovlin revealed that Hamilton now has a better understanding as to why Mercedes pitted him for new intermediates and his frustration was simply a consequence of the tight battle with Max Verstappen.

“Lewis is always looking at what’s ahead of him, what’s the most he can get,” Shovlin added. “He’s deeply invested in this championship and we wouldn’t really expect anything other than frustration at a P5 where at one point we thought we might be able to hang on. But we’ll go through that.

“We’ve had a debrief with him and now he understands the reasons. I think it’s just the kind of frustration from him [because] at times in that race he thought he was going to be on the podium, and that didn’t come true.

“I think there’s a bit of disappointment in that but if we look at how we operated, it was sensible and in a championship battle there’s a point where you’ve got to stop taking risks and cut your loses. Although those decisions are difficult to do, you’ve got to be strong and you’ve got to take them.”

Hamilton now trails Verstappen by six points in the championship with six rounds remaining.

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