George Russell is quickly becoming the Mercedes lead driver as Lewis Hamilton fades from his former glory. Hamilton famed for his strategy calls overruling the team simply dithered when asked how he wanted to proceed with tyre choices.
Russell was called in for a tyre change but told the team he would stay out in case there was a safety car. At the time he was ahead of Bottas and Hamilton who had stopped and holding his own on the hard tyres he chose to begin the race with.
When that safety car came, Russell pitted and surprisingly Mercedes gave him the medium tyre rather than the quicker soft tyre.
As soon as he cleared the pits, the crew came out with scrubbed soft tyres obviously for Hamilton. Given their track position, this would have given Lewis the advantage and it was strange Mercedes didn’t offer George the quicker soft tyres when he pitted a lap earlier.
Hamilton was given the opportunity to pit also under the safety car, but dithered when offered the opportunity.
Lewis for years has called his own tyre strategy and received acclaim for at times overriding the team’s decisions, but when asked did he want to pit? He replied, “you tell me”.
In that moment the opportunity to pit was lost and he remained on his worn hard tyres which obviously was the wrong strategy.
Russell passed him easily following the restart and so George is still the only driver to finish each race this season in the top 5 in an “un-drivable” car.
In his post race interviews Hamilton clearly laid all the responsibility for the tyre strategy for on the team. “In that scenario I have no clue where everyone is, and so when the team say it’s your choice I mean I don’t have the information to make the decision.
SO that’s what your job is [Merc strategy], make the decision for me – you’ve got all the details – I don’t. So I just rely on the guys… but today they gave it to me.
I don’t understand it. It was just a bit unfortunate under the safety car [to make a mistake].”
This has to be another blow to Hamilton’s fragile confidence as he now falls further behind his team mate… team mate results are the best marker of h fresh tyres at no track position cost.ow a driver is delivering in F1. Lewis is now 23 points behind his team mate after 5 race weekends.
Jenson Button says Lewis was ‘unlucky’, but this is disingenuous, Russell refused a team pit stop call saying he’d wait for a safety car. Hamilton conversely dithered when offered the same opportunity and missed the moment to get
For a midfield team, this points advantage Russell has over Hamilton means without a Russell DNF, it may take Hamilton half a season to catch up – but only if he begins to beat his team mate week in week out.