During the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG F1 drivers, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, battled for position. The younger Russell besting Hamilton by initially going wide off the track. Team boss Toto Wolff reveals that the FIA race control ‘unusually’ took charge of that situation with a radio communication.
Following the safety car period, which allowed Russell to dive in for fresh rubber, the young British team mate to Lewis Hamilton rejoined the track just behind the 44 car. Hamilton complained to the team about the chosen strategy and concluded that Russell would be able to pass him easily because of the better tyres on his W13 Mercedes F1 car. After the restart that seemed to be the case as Russell quickly got the better of his experienced teammate on lap 50.
Russell soon overtook Hamilton with four wheels off the track which eventually led to communication from race control to Mercedes.
Wolff explains that the race control did exactly what they ought not to do and that was to send instructions to the pit wall for this kind of matter.
“There was no conversation with the FIA and that is how it should be” said Wolff,
“Then FIA came to us with the message that they had to change positions again,” explains Wolff, perhaps a little irritated by the communication. The FIA decided at the start of the year to make teams responsible for returning illegally acquired positions, so it is unusual for Mercedes to have received an order to return the positions.
“We have to give the position back to Lewis,” said Russell’s engineer Riccardo Muscoini to George,
“Because we went outside the track when you overtook. The quicker you give the position back, the more chance you have of attacking again.”
It certainly didn’t take long for the quicker Mercedes driver to lead the other.