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Hamilton rues Red Bull strategy

NEWS STORY
14/11/2016

Hamilton feels Red Bull's decision to pit Max Verstappen for intermediate tyres cost him vital points.

Although his "easy" win takes him to within twelve points of teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton believes that had Red Bull not pitted Max Verstappen for intermediate tyres in the latter stages of the race the difference could have been a more manageable nine points.

When Daniel Ricciardo switched to intermediates following the second race stoppage, soon after the Australian began posting fastest times in various sectors. Even though conditions were expected to deteriorate Red Bull opted to pit teammate Max Verstappen who was running third at the time and looking certain to pass Rosberg as he had earlier in the race.

Later still the Dutch youngster (and his teammate) were pitted again, this time for the full wets, dropping him to 14th.

While the subsequent fight back is being widely recognised as one of the greatest drives in living memory, it left Hamilton frustrated that but for the intermediate stop the gap to his rival might have been smaller.

"When the team called me and said, 'people are starting to pit for inters,' I'm like, 'they're crazy, there is no way it is going to last, and they are going to have to pit again'," he said at the end of the race. "That's what they did and it is a shame, but there is nothing I can do about that.

"Verstappen still had a great race, and got back up to third," he admitted, "but it would be good if they made some good calls at the next race."

Indeed, the final stint saw the Dutch teenager climb through the field from 14th to 3rd, 10s behind runner-up Rosberg.

Finding grip where others were tip-toeing with extreme caution the Red Bull driver made the likes of world champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel look silly. Indeed, such was his frustration at being passed in such conditions the German accused Verstappen of forcing him off the road.

His recovery was amazing, and that was one of the best drives I've seen in Formula One," said Christian Horner. "We gave him a huge amount to do and the way he drove those last 15 laps was unbelievable. Max was in a league of his own today, and what we witnessed was something very, very special."

A statement few would disagree with.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Interlagos, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Roland, 15/11/2016 4:08

"Watching for more than 50 Years Formula 1, Senna and Schumacher where great in the wet, the best till now. Max Verstappen is defying physics!! "

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 14/11/2016 21:42

"@c5
I don't think Max could've beaten Lewis. Hamilton was running at a canter and appeared to have few problems.
Max said much the same after the race acknowledging that Lewis was using the same "fast " lines as him.."

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3. Posted by C5, 14/11/2016 17:42

"As much as I dislike Verstappen on the personal level, Lewis I think is wrong. Red Bull's strategy was an absolute gift to him.

I'm pretty sure that, if Max hadn't pitted he would have won the race and Lewis' deficit to Rosberg would have been 16 points rather then 12. Unless the two of them had crashed into each other, of course..."

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4. Posted by klmn, 14/11/2016 15:02

"Magic Max "

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5. Posted by edllorca, 14/11/2016 14:57

"Max clearly showed a ton of talent and speed. If he starts defending cleanly he will get all the respect he craves."

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6. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 14/11/2016 11:39

"Did not understand the Red Bull strategy either, they should have raced the Mercedes just reacting to there strategy, I think Max would have been second, possibly a win? full wets all the way, stunning drive all the same."

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