Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020

Mercedes originally decided against extra pit stop for Hamilton – Allison

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In the round-up: Mercedes technical director James Allison said the team originally decided not to pit Lewis Hamilton in an attempt to set fastest lap at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

What they say

Allison said that before the race began Mercedes didn’t intend to make an extra pit stop to chase the fastest lap bonus point.

It was something that sort of evolved a little. At one stage, we were thinking we had a very comfortable free stop with Lewis and we could take that as an opportunity to put him on fresh rubber with no threat from behind with maybe 10, 11 laps to go or even a little earlier because that would mean if there were any sort of Safety Car we would be on fat tyres that would restart easily on-track. It just felt like a good way of insulating Lewis from any of the sort of hits that can take a leader down.

But once we started chatting about it and and putting the idea to Lewis and a lap or two dribbled by, it wound up then being sufficiently short number of laps at the end that you could pop a soft on instead of a hard. And at that point, with the soft on everyone’s thoughts turn to fastest lap instead of just protecting against the Safety Car thing. And then we find ourselves going for a fastest lap.

Which we sort of talked ourselves out of before the race started but then found ourselves funnelled into that way of thinking, not necessarily in perhaps as organised a fashion as we might have like.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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On this day in F1

Start, Silverstone, 1985 British Grand Prix
Start, Silverstone, 1985 British Grand Prix
  • 35 years ago today Alain Prost won the British Grand Prix after the chequered flag was accidentally shown a lap early at Silverstone

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22 comments on “Mercedes originally decided against extra pit stop for Hamilton – Allison”

  1. Interesting team observations. Allison feels MB should have been more organised before the race regarding the fastest lap, damn right, they should have known exactly where every car would be for every minute of the race at least 24 hours before the start, don’t let it happen again.
    Binotto reverses 70 years of Ferrari tradition, sacking people always makes the car faster. Eventually.
    I count 11 mechanics working on Max’s car, what were the other 69 doing?

    1. They were accidentally dry blowing around Albons’ car off course @hohum

      1. @bascb, Doh ! silly me.

    2. Lol if you count well there are 12 men working ( you missed the one on the nose i think)

      But this picture shows how good F1 mechanics are finishing the job with 20 seconds to spare.

    3. I counted 14, which was the tally Sky gave. One of them is only visible as a shoe in the middle-left edge, and there’s a helmet at the bottom (as opposed to Helmut, who was in the garage).

      And full credit to the Red Bull mechanics– that was absolutely epic.

  2. I get Mercedes’ situation, and Toto does not like going for the fastest lap point because of the risk of putting a car in the barriers, or for a potential puncture, and even a mechanical failure due to putting more stress in the car. Not to mention the fact that pitting for new tyres, and going for it, could easily lead to a slow pit stop or even a mistake during the pit stop. It was a bit surprising that they pitted Hamilton for it considering that he did not have such a big gap to Verstappen. 4 seconds window is not a window that was worth risking just for one point, while staying out would have guaranteed the 25 points. I can understand the reason to cover a safety car or a possible puncture for Hamilton. It just came as a shock considering how Mercedes normally work.

    1. I can understand the reason to cover a safety car

      Actually, that is the bit I don’t understand. @krichelle
      If there is a SC then they can still pit before slotting in behind the SC, with more time in hand.
      Only a closed pit could make it a bit more difficult, but that would be the same for the chasing car.

      1. Just look at what happened in the Austrian GP. Both Mercedes go past the pits and a second later the SC comes out. This means that the Mercedes have to slot in right behind the SC while Albon gets the opportunity to pit for fresh softs. The story would of course be different if the Mercedes had been further up the road at that point, because the SC wouldn’t have picked them up immediately, giving them the opportunity to pit as well.
        The same could have happened in Hungary, had Hamilton been in the last corner/beginning of the start-finish-straight with the SC being deployed. Verstappen and Bottas would have had a pretty much free pit stop with Hamilton being picked up by the SC immediately, denying him the chance to pit.

        1. Austria was different, @16mi. Albon was within 12s and RBR would have done (and did) the opposite of Mercedes.

          Indeed, it was very tight to call in the Mercs. But I checked the track position and when the SC was called Bottas could still have pitted as he was before the pit entry point (and Hamilton quite easily as he was in turn 8). For Bottas it would have been super tight, but they knew the SC could come out as it was a yellow flag situation and even the commentators expected the SC.

      2. Whenever there are big gaps, any safety cars that come out will give anyone a chance of pitting for new tyres. Just like in Austria, any safety car at around laps 50-70 could have given a huge chance for Verstappen to win the race. I only found it odd that they decided to pit Hamilton 3 laps from the end, as the 4 second window was not worth the risk of an extra stop. Unless, they were scared of a puncture on Hamilton’s car. If anything, it maybe best to keep within 5 seconds of the car behind you to prevent this whenever they are at tracks like Monaco and Singapore where safety cars frequently happen. But hey, they made the strategy work, and got the win.

      3. If there is a SC then they can still pit before slotting in behind the SC

        Hungary 2016 enters the chat

      4. Every pit stop, even for a team like Mercedes, is an opportunity for things to go horribly wrong.

        Get it right, you’re a genius. Get it wrong like they did in Germany last year, you’re a meme.

  3. Luckily I’m fluent in Italian so can translate Binotto’s quote:
    “it’s not by sacking people that you make a car go faster”
    “Please don’t sack me”

    1. Mercedes: “Things have gone terribly wrong. How do we fix it, and how do we stop it from happening again?”

      Ferrari: “Things have gone terribly wrong. Who do we fire?”

  4. I’ll say it again, Ferrari need to split Binotto’s job, that will be a good start.

    CEO/Director, Team Principal and Technical Director. Mclaren have implemented this structure and it is working well from what I can tell.

    The difficult part will be getting the correct individuals.

    1. I agree

      I could be wrong but I also think they shouldn’t have fired Mattiacci, instead they should have split his role will Arrivabene. Rather than completely replacing him with Arrivabene.

      If they did it because politically Mattiacci wasnt good with F1 or wasnt on good terms with Ecclestone, and Arrivabene was, then they could have just split those roles

      1. Disagree about Mattiaci though, the guy didnt know how F1 works.

        Arrivebene would be suitable as a Team Director I feel. He has been in F1 for a long time and knows it well. He can also be considered a Ferrari insider, so this helps.

        Team Principal should be a pure racing guy, someone like Freddy Vassuer or Franz Tost. Both are no nonsense guys who will just focus on pushing the team hard. Binnotto is a technical guy and should go back to his role as Technical Director.

  5. Thanks for awarding me comment of the day :)

  6. I get what Montezemolo is saying. But organization as big as Ferrari should aim to bend the Benz not take the bull by the horns. Unless he meant to snatched Newey.

  7. For once I agree with Montezemolo.

    He had the greatest team at the time, everyone was top notch, picked from proven success from any country possible, regardless of race, gender, nationality.

    And they won like nobody before and like Mercedes is doing now.

    Maybe it seems attractive, to win with Italian team boss and engineers. But unless they are the best, they wont win any championships. Being the best is not based on nationality.

    Just one look at current organisation, and we can tell, they are mostly Italian.

    When nationality comes before performance, performance will suffer.

    If Ferrari comes before performance, performance suffers again, this is not a posing competition, this is about competing at the highest level.

    If it so happens, that Mercedes has a bunch of motorsport engineers, the best they can get, how can Ferrari compete by getting the best engineers that they can get in Italy?

    Changing team principal will hardly help.

    They need to get more overall talent, and improve their entire organisation.

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