‘Hamilton “moaning” affects Mercedes ability to make good strategy decisions’

Ted’s notebook on Sky F1 following the Miami GP saw him express – in his usual understated manner – a fairly critical view of Hamilton’s influence on team strategy. The folk lore is Lewis has regularly overruled the team and delivered his own winning tyre or pit stop strategy, but the truth is in fact other.

Following the safety car in the Miami GP, Kravitz questioned, “Has there been a sea change in Hamilton directing [the pit stop] strategy in the way we saw him do it last year. Has he thought ‘do you know what know, I’ve learned from last year…. I’m just going to leave it to James Vowells and the strategists to get on. You do the strategy and I’ll do the driving’.

“We’ll see if that’s a mindset change now they’re {Mercedes] not fighting for wins and he wants to just leave it up to the team.”

Over the years Lewis has indeed made a few strategy calls from the car, over ruling the team, that have proved genius.

In Monaco 2016, Hamilton demanded slicks and not the proposed intermediates and therefore saved a pit stop most other drivers were forced to take.

Then in 2019 at Silverstone, Hamilton decided he would refuse the strategists request for him to two stop and pursued and aggressive 1 stop against his team mate and closest rival Valterri Bottas. Unfortunately the Safety Car was deployed and we’ll never know the outcome of that decision.

Yet mostly, Hamilton has questioned or complained about the Mercedes team strategy calls, but in reality eventually complied – if only several laps after a debate.

However, given the modern F1 driver has limited knowledge of the race status and which other drivers are on what tyre and how they are progressing, Hamilton in fact more often costs Mercedes time and opportunity by refusing to accept their strategy calls unconditionally.

Gary Anderson told the-race.com, There’s a lot less moaning about stuff from Max than there is from Lewis. And that can all play a part in it. Because when you’re complaining to your team, your team is being forced to think in a direction away from what they would do themselves, because they’re trying to satisfy the strategy required and satisfy the driver as well, and sometimes those two don’t go together.”

Today in Miami, the Mercedes team were in need of a quick decision. As Christian Horner revealed, Max had passed the pit lane entrance when the safety car was deployed, but Ferrari and Mercedes had plenty of time to pit for fresh tyres.

Red Bull in fact pitted Sergio from P4 who was ahead of Hamilton on track.

In a fascinating analysis article by Joe Caparo, we see how Lewis may have contributed to his own downfall in the title challenge of 2021. Caparo demonstrates how The gap in decision making [at Mercedes] was clearly noticeable throughout the [Abu Dhabi race] weekend.”

As Martin Brundle prophetically pronounced in Brazil when interviewing Timo Glock and Felipe Massa a couple of weeks before last year’s controversial decider in Abu Dhabi, “A title is won over a season, not just one race.”

If so, Caparo’s observations on Hamilton’s negative effect on the team are more poignant.

If Lewis is now to return the pit stop decisions to the team strategists – unconditionally – he will most likely benefit as they move away from the current lack of cohesive decision making, allowing James Vowells and the strategists to do their job and make the calls with confidence.

This “mindset” change” may well assist Hamilton in turning around his fortunes and allow him to at least compete with his new team mate.

One response to “‘Hamilton “moaning” affects Mercedes ability to make good strategy decisions’

  1. How the mighty have fallen, sir moan a lot outperformed by the the talented so called newbie, George just grins and bares the car but more to the point makes it work and without whining.

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