Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2019

Mercedes: Hamilton pit stop timing was “as bad as it could be”

2019 German Grand Prix

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Mercedes owned up to a series of race strategy errors during the German Grand Prix and admitted the timing of one pit stop for Lewis Hamilton was “as bad as it could be”.

The team’s trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin described the team’s race as “very frustrating”. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ran first and second in the opening stages but Mercedes were caught out when fresh rainfall fell on a track which had been steadily drying.

“The weather wasn’t easy to deal with,” he said. “The rain was coming and going and around midway we were in reasonable shape but got caught out on dry tyres when the rain got heavier.”

Having put both cars on intermediate tyres during the first Safety Car period, Mercedes brought Bottas in from second place to put on slick tyres on lap 26 as the track dried.

“With Valtteri we went to mediums the lap after Max [Verstappen], which was OK but we should have reacted sooner when the Safety Car came out to take the opportunity to go to back to intermediate and that cost him the position.”

Hamilton switched to slick tyres even later, by which time the rain had returned. “With Lewis our timing was about as bad as it could be,” Shovlin admitted.

“We’d stopped for softs just as the conditions were getting worse and then he slipped off the track the next lap in the same place as Charles [Leclerc] went off. We were ready for Valtteri to come in, so when Lewis needed a nose change we just weren’t ready and lost a load of time.”

The team then reacted too slowly when the track finally became dry enough for slicks. “Despite all that, we were still second and third during the next Safety Car period but we were too cautious with the jump to dry tyres and lost position with both.

“On top of that, Lewis had the penalty to serve and should have done that earlier as we lost of a load of positions once everyone was bunched up. We then had both drivers spin at turn one in the damp, which pretty much finished our day.”

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Keith Collantine
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34 comments on “Mercedes: Hamilton pit stop timing was “as bad as it could be””

  1. This was a horror movie for all Mercedes fans. Please, Toto, get back to job and no more celebrating. Get well, Lewis, too!

  2. No more 1950s style pit-stops please Toto.

  3. I’ve got to say that I feel Lewis’ penalty was harsh and ultimately finished his race. Are we really saying that because his missed a board a damaged car that pathetically could gave soewes broken bits all over the track should have gone around the entire circuit when the outs is right in front of him.

    Also the team fine penalty for Ferrari for (was it Leclerc or Vettle can’t remember)? That one just felt a bit bloody strange.

    1. Not only this, he should have driven in the opposite way to pass that entry sign from the right side which is silly. LEC escaping 5 seconds penalty will open a can of worms too.

      1. @Boudi
        He crashed after passing the pit entry and should have driven another lap, yet he chose to safe time and brake a rule he and mercedes instigated last year; if anything, the penalty was too lenient.
        And yes, Leclerc’s penalty was/is a joke and has the possibility of opening that can of worms.

        1. I am sure it is preferable to cut the pit lane entry rather than spread debris around the track while also driving is terrible conditions with a lack of front down force and all the danger that would present. Drivers have done exactly the same in the past with no penalties. However as long as that is now enforced on every driver then fine. It was not ultimately what lost Hamilton the race.

    2. If hes gonna litter the track with parts falling off he should retire the car, not make a u-turn. The penalty is way to lenient for what he gained by breaking that rule.

      1. That’s utterly ridiculous, F1 is trying to encourage racing and participation, to say a car should either litter the track with debris or retire when there is a perfectly clear option of going to the lits in front doesn’t make sense.

        I’m not saying this from a fan boy perspective try to be objective here. If for example the track was littered with front body parts and caused overstepped to have a puncture, or caused another safety car to clear it up, that wouldn’t be great right.

        My thought is the purpose if the board is for safety, Hamilton going into the pits I believe was the safest option and cant believe they could not consider that in their decision, especially as it appears the considered the context surrounding leclercs release in the list and gave a team fine instead of a penalty to him.

      2. Lol… Well in that case Vettel should have retired in the last race as should any car with wing damage. That is a dumb solution. Ricciardo should probably in your mind be banned from F1 for his driving the car spilling oil…

    3. Mercedes were dreadful today, never mind 1950s tribute, they did a tribute to Ferrari today.

    4. Mercedes strategy finished his race. Hamilton wanted new tyres, but the team refused because he had a 5 second penalty. Which made no sense at all. Clearly he had to stop again anyway and then the cost would be even worse.

      Stroll switched to slicks at that time and almost ended up on the podium.

  4. I thought Hamilton complained that the call for slicks was too soon but it actually was too late.

    1. the second call for slicks was too late, towards the end of the race when everybody changed and stayed that way.
      the first one was too soon, as a result he crashed the next lap.

      1. @matthijs @terro , The first one was too late. They called him in for slicks just when it started to rain again. So he couldn’t get temperature in the tyres like the guys could who stopped a few laps earlier.

        The second time, when it dried up again, the called him in too late. He should have gone back to on slicks when he asked for new tyres and Stroll switched to slicks.

  5. yea well now you know how it feels like with Ferrari. Can’t always be Ferrari errors can it?

  6. Lewis was not well. Still he put it pole although Ferrari were unlucky.
    Even though he was not well he still led half the race.
    The question to ask is whether Merc would be where they are without Lewis.
    His driving has made them look good, not their strategy.
    Over the years their strategy has been from bad to shocking, much like today.
    He was not well and so can be forgiven his errors but Merc strategists need a good hard look at themselves and their competence.

    1. Merc strategy is the best in the field.

      1. It varies. Generally, they’ve been better than Ferrari, for example, but they’ve also made some shockingly bad calls in the past few years.

        Vowles is batting around .500– Fine for a baseball player, but a bit low for an F1 strategist.

      2. When you have by far the best car of the field for the sixth year in a row, you can put a monkey on the pitwall as your strategist and he will do no wrong. Today proved that, under pressure, Mercedes guys are no differente than Ferrari’s…as simple as that.

        1. You’ve not been watching the races then? Ferrari had the best car in 2018 and it was close in 2017 too.

          1. You keep believeing the BS that Toto spread to make things interesting when they actually aren’t…he doesn’t believe anymore himself to what he’s saying…

            2018 Mercedes results: 11 wins, 10 second places, 4 third places.

            2018 Ferrari results: 6 wins, 7 second places, 11 third places.

            You don’t win 11 times without driving the best car of the field by miles…who’s not been watching races now?

      3. @rethla Mercedes strategy has been just as horrible as Ferrari’s. Usually Hamilton copes with it though and makes it look less bad. Take Monaco. They send him out him for a 66 lap stint with tyres that are rated to last for 50 laps. Or Austria last year when they forgot to stop him when the VSC started. In the end the car stopped working, but still.

        1. @f1osaurus
          Well each to their own but really if you have to go back a year to find two big fault in Mercedes maybe you should check the circus that Ferrari is running to get some perspective.

          1. @rethla No that’s just two of the top of my head. There have been plenty of strategic mishaps there. Again, usually Hamilton manages to overcome their mistakes though, so yes it is less noticeable.

  7. im a massive merc fan but i feel that the call to put lewis on slicks when they did should have been the drivers call and not the strategist they are a team driven by data but had none for the weather conditions they faced today so they should have let the driver make the call seeing as he knows the true grip levels of the car at all times

    1. That makes no sense. The driver would have said it was fine to go to slicks since the track was dry. Problem was that it just started to rain when they called Hamilton in. How can the driver foretell a weather change? That’s what the team is supposed to predict.

      Hamilton actually asked for new tyres when then refused to stop him later on though during another safety car. Then indeed they should have listened to the driver.

  8. Poor drive by Lewis. He’s usually flattered by a dominant car but when the cracks show he falls apart!

    1. He was suffering from the Flu… He also was scuppered by his team keeping him waiting for 1 minute in the pits while they tried to engage their brains! If they had taken 30 seconds rather than the minute then he would likely have come out in the lead still…

    2. Actually if they had gotten one of the stops right he would have still won the race.

  9. Waiting for the fan edit of the stop with added Benny Hill music.

  10. Well that was the most mistakes Iv’e seen Merc make in a single race for…? They just couldn’t do a thing right, all that champers put back into storage :))

  11. First serious fluff up Merc have made this season.
    Compared to Ferrs close to every single race this year!

  12. Mercedes no longer have the best car and I think you will see that in Hungary. I suspect they’ve stopped developing the car to focus on 2020 as they think they have such a big gap, big mistake.

    This season is beginning to remind me of 2009 when Brawn dominated the first half and then Red Bull came back at them, wonder if Max can make up that gap? Probably not but 33/1 for him to win the title is generous, it should be more like 5/1.

    Red Bull’s main weakness is their lack of a “party mode” for qualifying, at least not one as powerful as Mercedes or Ferrari. They may struggle at the power circuits too, be interesting to see how Honda do at Monza for example.

    Still, looks like a fun second half of the season, bring it on!

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