Lewis Hamilton says that the safety car that triggered a pit stop in the Austrian GP ruined the strategic bet he had planned to use to jump Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton knew that when he got stuck behind his Mercedes Bottas teammate during the opening Formula 1 race, the only way to beat him was to perform a different strategy.
However, when the safety car came out on lap 25, after Kevin Magnussen started with an apparent braking problem, Hamilton had no choice but to follow Bottas to the pits for a double stack stop, which ended any possibility of run out of the strategy set and go on a different tire.
Both drivers were given a tough mix for a long time to the checkered flag, as the team believed it was too early to adapt to the vehicle. Sergio Perez of Racing Point was the only driver to take the vehicle at the stops.
Shortly after leaving the pits, Hamilton told the team’s radio that he wanted to take the “opposite tire” and do something different than Bottas.
“The fact is here on this track that you know that to have the opportunity to pass the car in front of you you always want to try to follow the opposite strategy,” Hamilton said when asked by Autosport about his comment.
“Now, when you are part of a team like ours, the first car always has priority in the stop. And therefore if both of you go out on the same tires, you are practically filled on a track like this, in particular where there is a lot, a lot difficult to overcome.
“It’s something like eight tenths of a second advantage that you need on the car to have the opportunity to fight with them. So I knew that with the same tire, most likely I would have ended up behind.
“But then obviously the safety car came out and that kind of thing is really messed up, because I was planning to try to extend my stint until I could have stopped for the opposite tire, in practice, and to risk, because in the end [when I’m] behind this is ultimately what I like to do, take a risk.
“But it didn’t work out that way, and I don’t think it was a big deal. I mean, there were so many other things that came into play.”
Hamilton admitted that when he went to the pits he had not reminded the team of his desire to do something different.
“Well, you know, when the safety car came out, I didn’t even know which tire they would put.
“I really didn’t think about it, I thought it would get us in trouble, since we were short enough and there was still a long way to go, and hard tire in general if you stop earlier, this is the best tire for the distance .
“As I said, they are a risk. But I didn’t suggest them, and normally before the stop, I would have suggested them, but because of the safety car, there are other things that came into play, and I didn’t do it, so it’s fine. “
Hamilton’s race ended in a clash with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, which took the Mercedes driver a five-second penalty, leaving him second to fourth in the final standings. Eventually Albon was unable to finish while retiring with four laps due to a fault in the control unit.