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In hindsight we made the wrong choice admits Mercedes

NEWS STORY
05/08/2021

Mercedes technical director, Mike Elliot admits the German team made a mistake in not pitting Lewis Hamilton at the restart of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Recalling the craziness that was the Hungarian Grand Prix, surely one of the most lasting images will be that of Lewis Hamilton lining up on the grid alone for the restarted race... a move that made the grid for the infamous 2005 United States Grand Prix look relatively normal.

Speaking after the race, Toto Wolff insisted it was the right move not to pit Lewis Hamilton at the end of the formation lap, but days later, technical director, Mike Elliot doesn't agree.

"Clearly in hindsight we made the wrong choice," says Elliot in the German team's latest video debrief, "but you have to bear in mind those decisions are really, really tricky.

"We agonised over what tyre to fit at the very start of the race," he continues, "as it turned out the inter was definitely the right choice because it started raining on the lap to the grid.

"We agonised over what tyre to fit after the red flag and clearly all of the cars fitted inters, and on that lap to the grid, even though all the drivers had fitted inters, clearly others decided to change their mind and we should have too.

"But the reality is, it's actually more difficult for us as a team than it is for the other teams," he says. When you are the front car, you can't see what everybody else is doing. You are the lead car. When you are further back in the chain, you can see what others have done and you can change your mind accordingly. You can use that new evidence to your advantage.

"The second problem for us is that we have the first pit box in the pit lane," he adds. "So, as we'd have come into the pit lane and we'd boxed, all the cars would have been pouring past and it would have been very difficult for Lewis to get out and that would have delayed us.

"The second problem with that or same problem, but another way of looking at it, is if we had tried to force our way out into the pit lane we could have collided with another car and we actually saw that happen in that sequence of pit stops."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Pavlo, 06/08/2021 21:43

"Just a funny note: if Hamilton would pit with everyone, best strategy would be to drive out "unsafe" and get 10 seconds penalty. Staying first on the right tires he would easily make that gap.
But what surprised me is that apparently all the teams have no idea of track condition unless they drive. Seems quite logical to have some models that can just calculate it based on measured rain, temperature, insolation, whatever else. Could have been a game changer for some teams, if they could just put slicks before the formation laps."

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2. Posted by husoi, 06/08/2021 15:44

"I don't believe was the wrong decision.
If Hamilton had pit as everybody else he would be last in the pitlane unless he would manage to leave his pit before the other drivers arrived.
Mercedes is the first box in pitlane and he would be right at the back."

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3. Posted by Cobra Driver, 06/08/2021 10:27

"Who is controlling the Mercedes pit strategy, Bozo the Clown?"

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4. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 05/08/2021 18:32

"The only way they could have made that turn out differently, really, would have been to gamble on slicks before the formation lap. Had they made that switch at the last second it would have been a coup. I'm a little surprised nobody made that gamble actually. Had even Mazepin, for example, made that gamble, and nobody else did he would have been able to lead the GP for a lot of laps (once Hamilton pitted for slicks), before the pack even caught up, and likely could have held on for a points finish (assuming he didn't crash out trying to defend his position)."

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