Hamilton questions Merc strategy as Russell finishes ahead again
Lewis Hamilton questioned Mercedes’ strategy after not pitting under the safety car in Miami, eventually finishing sixth behind team-mate George Russell; Spanish Grand Prix is the next race on the calendar on weekend of May 20-22 with full coverage only on Sky Sports F1
Last Updated: 09/05/22 12:43am
Lewis Hamilton questioned Mercedes’ strategy at the Miami Grand Prix after he was overtaken by team-mate George Russell in the closing stages.
Hamilton was asked to make a key strategic decision after Lando Norris’s collision with Pierre Gasly on lap 41, as the constructors’ champions tried to decide whether to pit for soft tyres under the resulting safety car.
Meanwhile, Russell took advantage of the situation to stop for quicker medium tyres, allowing him to overtake both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to finish the race in fifth, leaving him 23 points ahead of his new Mercedes team-mate in drivers’ standings.
Reflecting on being asked to decide on the pit stop strategy, Hamilton said his team should have made the decision for him.
“In that scenario I have no clue where everyone is so when the team say it’s your choice, I don’t have the information to make the decision,” he told Sky Sports.
“That’s what your job is, make the decision for me. You have all the details. I don’t!
“That’s what you rely on the guys for, but today they gave it to me and I didn’t understand it.
“It was just a bit unfortunate on the safety car but at least we got points today. We are finishing and reliability is good. We just have to keep trying.
“I’m excited at some stage to take a step forward, which we haven’t yet.”
Hamilton lost out under a safety car earlier this season when his team called for him to pit at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix just after he had passed the pit lane entry.
And Sky Sports pundit Jenson Button feels he has been unluckier than most when it comes to strategic decisions paying off.
“Lewis was unbelievably unlucky,” Button said.
“He says he hasn’t been lucky with strategy. To be fair, everyone was on the same strategy as him except his team-mate because he had a bad qualifying.
“Really tough for Lewis today and in that decision-making it is really difficult.”
Russell: It is mixed feelings
It was a weekend of ups and down for Russell who, after finishing top of the timesheet in Practice Two, was knocked out in Q2 after failing to find the same pace.
He bounced back on Sunday to maintain his record of finishing in the top five at every race this season so far, but Russell admitted he has mixed emotions about the weekend as Mercedes continue to try and unlock the full potential of their W13.
“I think it is mixed feelings to be honest because based on where we were yesterday it is a good result,” he told Sky Sports.
“But if you had told me after Friday we would finish P5 and P6 that far behind P1 I would have been disappointed so we have a fast race car in there we just don’t have the key to unlock the performance.
“We don’t quite understand why that is so there is work to do.
“I felt like if I pushed any further I was going to crash because I was just bouncing through the corners and it wasn’t much nicer today but because of the slower speeds, the aero wasn’t working as hard so I could manage it but we don’t get it at the moment to be honest, I certainly don’t.
“It is frustrating but we will get there.”
On his on-track battle with Hamilton, he added: “When you are battling with your team-mate you have to show a bit of respect, more room than normal and I went a bit wide but it is so dirty offline round this circuit and I had to do it all over again.
“I enjoyed it and there is good respect between us but Lewis was unlucky today on those old, hard tyres there is a lot of work to do.”