Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Cut tyre compromised Hamilton’s strategy

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton’s fight through the field in China was compromised because his first set of soft tyres were damaged in the first corner collision.

That forced the team to put Hamilton on a set of medium tyres at the end of the race, as executive director for technical Paddy Lowe explained.

“Under the Safety Car, we chose to perform consecutive pit stops with Lewis to get rid of the super soft and enable us to run the rest of the race on the soft, which was the stronger race tyre,” said Lowe.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016
Mercedes considered a pit lane start for Hamilton
“As it transpired, his first set of softs were cut from the first corner incident – something we were unaware of at the time – which meant we were then forced to run the medium at the end of the race, rendering our super soft eliminating tactic redundant.”

Hamilton had qualified last on the grid due to a power unit failure in qualifying. He was then involved in the first corner collision with Kimi Raikkonen which led Mercedes to rue their decision not to start him from the pit lane instead.

“One of the debates we actually had overnight was whether to do a bit more work to the car and start him from the pit lane,” Lowe revealed, “which ironically would have been a better decision in hindsight given what happened at the first corner.”

“Equally, Lewis had by far his best start of the season, which ironically contributed to him being caught up in the cascade of collisions ahead of him. So, a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances all round put him on the back foot straight away.”

Although Mercedes replaced the front wing Hamilton lost at the first corner his W07 carried damage until the end of the race. “We could see that there were problems with the car – both aerodynamic and mechanical – affecting him through the low-speed corners in particular,” said Lowe.

“Overall Lewis did a great job to recover what he could with a car that was significantly under-performing,” he added.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Cut tyre compromised Hamilton’s strategy”

  1. Wasn’t it Nasr that tagged him?

    1. Hamilton also ran over a large chunk of (Raikonnen’s?) wing with his right-rear just before Nasr clobbered him.

      Between that, and 5 pit stops, it’s amazing Hamilton finished in the points.

  2. it was Nasr that hit Hamilton trying to avoid Kimi rejoining track

    1. Nasr was avoiding a piece of debris – Kimi was in the vicinity but well in front of Nasr. After avoiding the debris, he swerved back into Hamilton.

  3. If that tyre strategy of Mercedes was a ‘cunning plan’ then they made Baldrick look like a genius!

  4. Fudge Ahmed (@)
    18th April 2016, 15:44

    Is this 4 way fight ever going to happen? Getting very bored of everyone other than Nico having their cars fail or crashed into.

    1. @offdutyrockstar fingers crossed Nico has an issue in Russia to pull this into a semblance of balance.

      1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        18th April 2016, 16:12

        Or just 2 working Mercs and 2 working Ferraris that can actually qualify and race! So frustrating.

        1. Been thinking the same thing.

          I’m wondering, if a good part of the season will be like this. The momentum could shift and we could still end up with same. It’s part of why I rated the race lower than I usually do. Most of the time, these things don’t bother me. I think I was too hyped for this particular race itself. Once the start deflated my hype, the race couldn’t recover my initial perception of what I thought I’d see, despite some brilliant driving which led to some equally brilliant recoveries.

          1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
            19th April 2016, 9:50

            Even when Ricciardo was momentarily leading, Nico was barely held up as Ricciardo’s tyre blew to pieces for no apparent reason. Unbelievable.

  5. “As it transpired, his first set of softs were cut from the first corner incident – something we were unaware of at the time – which meant we were then forced to run the medium at the end of the race” So were they originally planning to refit the first set of softs for the end of the race? Seems strange to refit a set that has already been used in that race.

    1. yes, it is strange; once they go through a thermal cycle (cool-heat-cool) they are not as good anymore. Paddy Lowe must have ment something different, although i don’t see what.

    2. Its because its just hot air and excuses…As soon as Hamilton doesn’t win himself and everyone around him begins with the laundry list of ‘its not him, its the car’. Maybe trying to manage the inevitable dummy spit…. :-P

      1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        19th April 2016, 9:54

        There was plenty of dummy spitting after this race and none of it from Hamilton. Try to keep your bias in check.

  6. Lewis was really unlucky this race. Poor guy. Maybe with soft tires he would get past Massa.

    1. Massa was really unlucky this race, poor guy. Maybe with a Mercedes chassis & engine he would have won the race…….

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