Mercedes explain their strategy calls – and asking Lewis Hamilton for his input – at the Miami GP after George Russelll capitalised on the Safety Car to pass his team-mate, finishing ahead for the fourth race in a row

Last Updated: 12/05/22 5:00pm

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Sky Sports Karun Chandhok discusses the collision between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris and the battle between the two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Sky Sports Karun Chandhok discusses the collision between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris and the battle between the two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Mercedes say they were “between a rock and a hard place” when tasked with Lewis Hamilton’s strategy at the Miami GP and have explained why they asked their driver to make a pit-stop decision himself.
Hamilton finished sixth in Sunday’s race and behind George Russell again despite leading his team-mate for the majority of the weekend after a Safety Car played into one Mercedes’ hands, and hampered the other.Russell capitalised on Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly’s crash with his first stop for fresh tyres while Mercedes were left with a conundrum on Hamilton, who had already pitted. After some radio debate – with Mercedes consulting Hamilton for his own input on the decision – the seven-time world champion eventually stayed out and was passed by Russell on-track. Verstappen worried by Red Bull reliability despite title momentumBrundle on Miami: Max charge gathers speed, Merc ‘mystery’ complicatesMerc won’t rule out return to old car | Hamilton: We haven’t improvedHamilton questioned the strategy afterwards, saying he didn’t understand why he was asked and that he was left as a “sitting duck” to Russell.Mercedes’ technical director Mike Elliott explained the scenario and Mercedes’ difficult decision in the team’s latest race debrief. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated after finishing sixth in the Miami GP and admits he was confused why he was asked to make the decision to pit during the safety car Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated after finishing sixth in the Miami GP and admits he was confused why he was asked to make the decision to pit during the safety car “The Safety Car came at completely the wrong time for Lewis,” stated Elliott.”If we didn’t pit him he was always going to have George behind him on a much newer tyre. If we did pit him, he would lose track position to George.”Although Lewis would have had a new tyre, the only new tyres we had available to us was the hard or the soft and while you might think the soft would have been a good solution, we knew that the soft tyre would overheat very quickly.”We knew it would overheat even more quickly because he was just behind George fighting on track and that would have put even more heat into the tyres.”We were caught between a rock and a hard place and there was no real right answer.” Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player George Russell says Mercedes are still trying to ‘unlock performance’ but enjoyed his battle with Lewis Hamilton to finish fifth George Russell says Mercedes are still trying to ‘unlock performance’ but enjoyed his battle with Lewis Hamilton to finish fifth Elliott said there being “no right or wrong answer” contributed to the team asking Hamilton for his opinion, a rarity on the pit wall. Mercedes’ strategy chief James Vowles told Hamilton they would “leave it to your decision”, prompting replies of “you tell me man, don’t leave it to me”, from the driver.”You would have seen us asking that question, what did he think he wanted to do?” said Elliott.”That was just because there was no right or wrong answer and sometimes the drivers have a better feel in the car than we as the engineers do looking at the data.”As it happened it was just the circumstances that took place meant Lewis lost out because of the Safety Car.” Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Despite an improved weekend for Mercedes, Toto Wolff admits the team are in a sort of limbo trailing both Ferrari and Red Bull Despite an improved weekend for Mercedes, Toto Wolff admits the team are in a sort of limbo trailing both Ferrari and Red Bull Hamilton has been unlucky with Safety Cars in two of the last three races, and has now finished behind Russell on four consecutive Sundays. “Unfortunately Lewis has been unlucky a couple of times already this season,” added Elliott.”But it’s just the way that things pan out and hopefully over the season it balances up and he will have some advantages that come to him through to timings of the Safety Cars in future races.”

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