Hamilton almost ignored call for second pit stop

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton admits he was ‘conflicted’ about his Mercedes team’s call to bring him in for a second stop that ultimately proved the winning strategy.

Mercedes called Hamilton in for a second set of mediums on lap 42, dropping to over 22 seconds behind Max Verstappen in the lead of the race.

But Hamilton was able to use the fresh tyres to his advantage, steadily catching the Red Bull before passing Verstappen with seven laps remaining. Hamilton admits that he was unsure whether he should obey the call to pit when he first received the instruction to box.

“I was about to have a shot at getting past him before I pitted right at the end,” Hamilton says.

“I was really conflicted, like ‘do I come in or do I ignore the call and stay out?’ Obviously I did what the team asked and naturally that’s because there’s a great trust between us, but it’s a remarkable job by everyone in this team through and through.”

Hamilton says that he had doubts his tyre performance would hold up until the end of the race, given how much he was having to push to close the gap to Verstappen.

“I was so close for so long and I didn’t think in doing that, I was going to be able to make the tyres last,” Hamilton explains. “But I just managed to just keep them in somehow. It was a long way to come back from 20-odd seconds back. But it was a good gamble, really great strategy by the team.”

Mercedes, Hamilton explained, had deliberately planned to keep an extra set of medium tyres available in case they chose to switch to a two stop strategy during the race.

“It had been the plan all weekend for us to make sure we had two mediums to be able to do a two stop. Even though a one stop potentially looked better, I know from experience here that a one stop is very, very hard to pull off. And as soon as we had the pace that we had, I knew, as soon as I could get past him if I could.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “Hamilton almost ignored call for second pit stop”

  1. Had he got past, would Verstappen/Red Bull have pitted and tried the reverse?

    1. they would lose much more time behind Bottas than Hamilton did.

  2. that’s because there’s a great trust between us

    If that great trust existed, he never would have considered staying out. Seems more like, I kinda sorta trust them, so after considering my options, I decided to give their strategy a try.

    1. It takes a lot more trust to come in than stay out. So many things can go wrong in a pitstop. Haas can tell you that. I think his decision to pit shows a huge amount of trust in the strategy.

    2. isthatglock21
      10th May 2021, 4:23

      If he didn’t even question or consider the other options then franjly he wouldn’t be much of racing driver. That’s what makes the top guys stand out, it’s not a textbook theory excersie where it’s agreed beforehand & you 100% stick to it. There’s always been plenty of cases in the past where doing something else has paid dividends. I’d rather drivers think under high pressure whilst pushing, than pay no attention to the wider game

  3. Redbull will be wondering how they lost that, but I’d say the race was decided when Lewis / Mercedes decided to go long on that first stint. Going long meant when pitted, they could potentially do a one stop.

    That’s where Redbull lost. RB were left second-guessing if Lewis would pit again, or continue to the end.
    When lewis did pit again, it left Redbull with no choice but to stay out.

    Redbull should have pitted before lewis pitted again, they should have pitted well before Lewis closed them down.

  4. Can you wonder why Lewis is in two minds whether to come into change tyres . The merc pit team want sorting out 4sec plus is unacceptable take some tips from red bull
    Your suppose to be the best change or lose again don’t blame the drivers

    Reply moderated

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