Wolff explains why Mercedes pit wall overruled Hamilton

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insisted that his team had been right to overrule Lewis Hamilton at a... The post Wolff explains why Mercedes pit wall overruled Hamilton appeared first on F1i.com.

Wolff explains why Mercedes pit wall overruled Hamilton

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insisted that his team had been right to overrule Lewis Hamilton at a critical point of the Russian Grand Prix.

With just five laps to go, a sudden downpour at the end of the race led to fevered discussions on the pit wall about whether to keep their drivers out or to come in for wet weather tyres

At the time, Hamilton was within range of Lando Norris for the race lead. He was reluctant to give up track position and initially stayed out, insisting that the rain was already easing off.

"I ignored the first call," Hamilton told Norris in the media pen later. "I was like, 'No he's right there!'"

But the Mercedes strategists had access to the weather radar which told a different story.

"For the driver it's always very difficult when half of the track is dry and the other one is just a bit humid," Wolff told the media after the race. "We knew that the big weather was coming."

The team acted first to call Valtteri Bottas in on lap 47 when he was running outside the points in 14th.

"We'd made the call a little bit earlier with Valtteri. That brought him into contention after a challenging race. He did a great job to move up the field and into the top five.

"Then our weather frog and the strategists were adamant [that Lewis had] to pit [as well]," he added.

After a troubled start to the race that saw him fall to seventh place on the opening lap behind Daniel Ricciardo, by the closing stages Hamilton had fought his way back to second place and was pressuring Norris for the lead by the time the rain started to fall.

"Those final few laps were so intense, but we managed to make the right calls and lead the field across the finish line," said Wolff.

"We were in a way prepared to brace for the tough end, whether we could overtake Lando on-track or not," he explained. "Then the rain hit and things got pretty erratic at that stage."

While Hamilton did eventually follow order to pit, Norris insisted on staying out - and paid the price as he went spinning off, eventually finishing the race down in seventh place.

"Norris managed the race very well, who knows what would have happened if the rain hadn't arrived, but it did.

"I understand why it was so difficult for McLaren to take this decision to stay out or come in," Wolff said. "As a leader, you can only lose. We benefitted from that today, and it's spectacular for the fans I guess."

Wolff admitted that it was hard to say whether Hamilton could have passed Norris on track if the rain had held off, pointing out that Hamilton had struggled to get around Ricciardo in the second McLaren in the opening stint.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren with race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme. 26.09.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Russian Grand Prix, Sochi

"Lewis was stuck behind Ricciardo at the beginning of the race, although Ricciardo had DRS," he explained. "I think it would have been difficult to pass. They had a fast car today, and it was well managed from his side."

Chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin commented: "We'd managed to get Lewis up to second and it would have been a straight fight with Lando in the dry.

"We were actually hoping for the rain as it felt like that would be our best chance of making it to the top step.

"Obviously the end of the race was quite exciting, the team stayed calm and reacted well to the conditions and ultimately that's what gave us the win."

The outcome of the race means that Mercedes are now 30 points ahead of Red Bull in the constructors standings while Hamilton now has a slender two point advantage over Max Verstappen in the drivers battle.

"It's been a little while since we had a race victory," Wolff said. "But I know results like this will fire everyone up even more to keep pushing until the end of the season.

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Hamilton: Big 100 race wins number 'taking longer than ever'

Lewis Hamilton says his 100th career win in Formula 1 "will come when it comes" but the Mercedes... The post Hamilton: Big 100 race wins number 'taking longer than ever' appeared first on F1i.com.

Hamilton: Big 100 race wins number 'taking longer than ever'

Lewis Hamilton says his 100th career win in Formula 1 "will come when it comes" but the Mercedes driver admits the milestone is "taking longer than ever" to achieve.

Hamilton conquered his 99th career win in the F1 world championship at Silverstone back in July. Since, the Briton has finished three times on the podium and suffered one DNF – in Monza after colliding with title rival Max Verstappen.

The seven-time world champion will start his Russian Grand Prix from fourth on the grid, with an ambitious trio of young guns - Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and George Russell - just ahead.

Hamilton says he'll be giving it his all in Sochi as he chases his landmark 100th win.

  • Read also - Hamilton: Pitlane blunder not the result of 'pressure'

"It will come when it comes, but of course, I'll be giving it absolutely everything tomorrow, chasing that number 100," Hamilton said after qualifying.

"It's a big number. It seems like it's taking longer than ever before to get it. It's a pretty cool number to wait for."

With Verstappen starting at the back of the grid following an engine change in the Red Bull camp, Hamilton will hopefully be spared another wheel-to-wheel battle and potential clash with his nemesis.

Asked if he had completely recovered from the neck pain he endured following his run-in with the Dutchman at Monza last time out, Hamilton said that he was "generally feeling fine" after entrusting his soreness to the healing hands of physio Angela Cullen.

©Mercedes

"We did a lot last week, I was feeling really good, got back into training, and arrived here generally feeling fine," Hamilton said.

"And then after the day of being in the car, I was feeling a bit tight in the back of my neck, and woke up in the morning with some pains. I had some pains yesterday, and we worked on it.

"I woke up again this morning with a little bit of pain in my muscles. Angela was just working on it this morning with a trigger point releasing. And then I was just using the gun thing that you use to soften the muscle.

"But generally it's fine. It's just a bit of nervousness kind of feeling."

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The post Hamilton: Big 100 race wins number 'taking longer than ever' appeared first on F1i.com.

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