Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

‘We’ll discuss what went wrong’: Hamilton and Verstappen team radio transcript analysis

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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When Max Verstappen seized the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver began a race-long pursuit of his rival.

Desperate not to lose his lead through the pit stops, Verstappen took the surprising step of pitting before his team told him to. That led to a sluggish pit stop, which Mercedes could have taken advantage of.

Instead they decided against bringing Hamilton in, and used a second pit stop later in the race to chase down the Red Bull on fresher tyres.

Both drivers felt the strain. Hamilton doubted he would be able to overcome Verstappen’s 22-second lead, while his rival grew frustrated at the need to push as hard as possible while preserving his fading tyres. Hamilton finally caught passed his rival for the lead with six laps to go.

Their team radio communications between the drivers and race engineers Peter Bonnington and Giampiero Lambiase reveal every punch and counter-punch of a fight for victory which was fought on the track and in the pits.

Laps 1-7: Verstappen seizes the lead

Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021
Verstappen’s superb start set up a fascinating battle between the title contenders

Verstappen made a fractionally better start from second place on the grid and dived past pole-winner Hamilton to lead the race. He reported some hesitation from his car early in the race, but that was the only time either driver reported any technical trouble during the grand prix.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
1BonningtonSo Leclerc car behind at 0.9.
2BonningtonSo Verstappen 1.6 ahead, Leclerc, 1.8 behind.LambiaseMode six, mode by six before turn 10. Gap at 1.3.
2BonningtonHPP3 position two when you can, three position two.LambiaseAnd display eight, not urgent.
2BonningtonVerstappen at 1.8, last lap 23.5.LambiaseGap at 1.5, 1.5.
2VerstappenMassive lag out of turn 10 again, odd gear.
3BonningtonAnd DRS has been enabled. Verstappen at 1.9. Last lap was a 23.2.LambiaseCopy that Max. Gap behind at 1.7.
4LambiaseGap at 1.9. Leclerc’s P3. Gap to Leclerc, 5.7.
4LambiaseOkay, the only loss at this stage to Hamilton was at turn 14, different compromise, Hamilton quick in, slow out of 14, 15.
5BonningtonVerstappen 1.7, lap time 23.2.LambiaseGap at 1.6.
5BonningtonVerstappen at 1.6, last lap 23.2.LambiaseThat was all sector one in the last lap.
6BonningtonOnly loss to Verstappen min speed turn 12.LambiaseHamilton, less management turn three and turn nine at the moment.
6BonningtonAnd gap to Verstappen 1.5 last lap 23.2.
7LambiaseOkay Max, how’s the balance please?
7VerstappenAll okay.

Laps 8-12: Safety Car

Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri came to a stop at turn 10 with a loss of power. The Safety Car had to be deployed to recover his car.

Verstappen kept his lead from Hamilton, while Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas behind them regained the nine seconds they had lost before it came out.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
8BonningtonGap at 1.6, last lap, 23.1.LambiaseUnderstood.
8BonningtonAnd we have a yellow down at turn 11.LambiaseDouble yellows, turn 10, 11. Double yellows, turn 10, 11.
8BonningtonDouble yellow, double yellow. So car on the outside.LambiaseSafety Car deployed. Safety Car deployed. Dash positive, dash positive. Recharge on.
8BonningtonSo Safety Car, staying out, staying out. Keep the delta positive.
9BonningtonSo just stay on that delta. Safety Car exit turn two at the moment.LambiaseSafety Car at turn one ahead of you. So Leclerc stayed out, Bottas has stayed out, Ricciardo stayed out, Perez has stayed out.
9BonningtonLewis just give us an update on balance.LambiaseOkay focus on keeping some temperature in your tyres for the moment.
9HamiltonRear’s, rear’s starting to wear.LambiaseB-bal seven, b-bal seven.
9BonningtonOK, copy.LambiaseOkay Max as I said, other than Hamilton’s tow, he’s using a little bit more of his tyres in turns three and nine initially.
9HamiltonIt’s hard to get close here.LambiaseAre you happy with your tools available?
9BonningtonYeah, copy. We’re happy with the pace. Looks good.VerstappenYeah all good so far.
9BonningtonSo Lewis, nobody’s taken the Safety Car pit stop. So it looks like most people are on the one-stop.LambiaseUnderstood.
9BonningtonSo Safety Car is in this lap, you’ve got strat mode five selected, so you’ve good to go. Overtake is available.LambiaseIn terms of the field spread behind us, it was opening up pretty quickly. We pretty much had a Safety Car stop over Leclerc who was in P3.
10BonningtonJust cancel magic, good to go.LambiaseOkay brake warming procedure Max. And use your DRS.
10BonningtonGap to Verstappen one second, Leclerc 1.4 behind.LambiaseSo the main tyre to look after it is still the front-left, that’s the leading corner, Max, but you’re doing a relatively good job with those temperatures.
10LambiaseOkay mode three and b-bal three, the Safety Car is in this lap. Mode three, b-bal three and the b-bal offset, we will leave to you. Tyres are cold at this stage, so bring them in nicely, don’t over-slip the fronts. And reminder you are racing from the line.
10LambiaseSo from here, it’s just recharge off when you’re ready. Safety Car is at 15. Safety Car is in pit lane now.
11VerstappenWhich mode?
11LambiaseAs you are.
11LambiaseGap at one second.
12BonningtonAnd gap at 1.1.LambiaseGap at one second.

Laps 13-21: Verstappen feels the pressure

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021
The Safety Car erased the initial lead Verstappen and Hamilton built up

When the race restarted, Verstappen couldn’t draw away from Hamilton. The Mercedes driver sat within two seconds of him, threatening to jump into the pits as soon as the opportunity presented itself to get onto fresher tyres and ultimately take the lead of the race, as he had in Bahrain.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
13BonningtonAnd DRS has been enabled. Gap at 1.1, last lap 23.0.LambiaseDRS now enabled.
13LambiaseOne second.
14BonningtonGap at 1.1, last lap 23.2.
15BonningtonGap at 1.3, last lap a 23.2.LambiaseOne second. Gap 1.2, 1.2.
16VerstappenI need the more aggressive pull toggle.
16LambiaseDisplay 14, display one four, position 11, position one one.
17BonningtonGap at one second, last lap 23.5.LambiaseMode six, mode six.
17HamiltonTyres are starting to drop.LambiaseStrat nine, position two, not urgent.
17BonningtonOK copy. Gap at 1.2. Last lap 23.3.
18BonningtonLewis can you go menu dash position five, position five. You are target minus two, target minus two.LambiaseGap at 1.2 gap at 1.2.
18LambiaseOkay Max, can you toggle the engine for me, please? Engine 11 position four. Engine 11 position four, then back to position five. Thank you.
19HamiltonWe’re going to have to take wing out. A hole and a half down.LambiaseStrat 10 position two when you can. Strat 10 position two when you can.
19BonningtonAnd gap at 1.3. Last lap 23.3.
20BonningtonGap at 1.5 last lap 23.3.LambiaseAnd Max could I have a strat six update please when you can for the next stint. Not urgent. Strat six update.
20LambiaseGap at 1.4.
21BonningtonLewis can you go HPP three position four, three position four. Then HPP seven position four.LambiaseGap 1.5. Keep it up Max, good job.

Laps 22-27: Verstappen’s surprise pit stop

Verstappen wasn’t told to pit before he came in for his first stop

Whatever Red Bull’s intention for Verstappen’s first pit stop was, he caught them off-guard when he appeared in the pits unannounced on lap 24. They sent him on his way with a fresh set of medium tyres, but lost around two seconds compared to a normal pit stop.

On the lap before he came in, Verstappen told his team to look at his tyre set and they discussed his “final front wing update”. Perhaps these were intended as coded triggers for a pit stop without alerting Hamilton behind.

“We’ll discuss after the race what went wrong,” Verstappen said after he returned to the track. Mercedes chose not to respond to Verstappen’s pit stop immediately.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
22BonningtonAnd Lewis can you go menu dash position six, dash position six. Gap at 1.1 last lap 23.5.
23BonningtonLewis you’re now target minus one.LambiaseGap at one second.
24VerstappenMate, look at my tyre set.
24LambiaseStrat seven position one, please, strat seven position one.
24LambiaseBlue flags for Mazepin ahead. And Max final front wing update for next stint please.
24VerstappenYeah it’s okay.
25BonningtonTyres are okay.LambiaseStrat 12.
25BonningtonCopy.LambiaseStrat eight, white line on the exit. Strat eight, white line on the exit.
25BonningtonSlow stop for Verstappen.LambiaseRicciardo is pitting ahead.
25BonningtonHe has Perez and Riccardo as traffic.
25HamiltonDo I keep going?
25BonningtonAffirm. Keep it down.
25HamiltonBlue flags.
25HamiltonBlue flags.
26BonningtonCopy Lewis. We are going to go target plus six.LambiaseCurrently one second safe to Hamilton.
26BonningtonUnderstood.LambiaseOkay Max we’re currently 2.5 seconds safe to Hamilton now. So look after your tyres, both front left and rear left were a limitation. Hamilton going long.
26BonningtonVerstappen predicted 22.3.VerstappenYeah okay. We’ll discuss after the race what went wrong.
27BonningtonSo Lewis, it won’t be long. Currently unsafe to Verstappen, four seconds, predicted a 22.9.LambiaseYeah I know what’s happened.
27VerstappenIt’s okay.
27LambiaseReset all your switches please Max for the moment. Reset your switches including tyre.
27Lambiase23.1 for Hamilton.

Laps 28-29: Mercedes respond

By pitting four laps later than Verstappen, Hamilton passed up the chance to jump into the lead, ensuring instead he banked a tyre life advantage over his rival.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
28BonningtonLet us know if you’re happy down 1.5.LambiaseOkay so Hamilton in pit lane. You’re past him now.
28BonningtonOkay Lewis, box box.
29BonningtonSo out-lap normal, reset your diff.LambiaseGap to Hamilton 5.5.
29BonningtonValtteri car behind.LambiaseGap at six seconds.
29BonningtonLewis you’re five laps offset on tyre. Gap to Verstappen six seconds.LambiaseOkay so think about your tyre management now for this stint Max. Could be 42 laps, 42 laps on this tyre to the end.
29BonningtonVerstappen 23.2.
29BonningtonThat gap now 5.8. Your B mig is in error. So last lap was a 22.5.

Laps 30-41: Hamilton closes in again

With fresher rubber and a quicker car, Hamilton cruised up to the back of Verstappen. While Mercedes had another set of medium tyres ready for Hamilton, Red Bull had only softs for Verstappen, so a second pit stop for them at this stage was out of the question.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
30BonningtonThat gap down to 4.4. Last lap 22.6.VerstappenAre you happy with these inputs?
30BonningtonNow at 2.8, last lap 22.7.LambiaseStand by, Max.
31LambiaseGap 4.2.
31LambiaseOkay Max, the limitation is the rear-left, rear-left tyre.
31LambiaseHappy with your metrics so far.
32BonningtonAnd gap at 1.7 last lap 22.4.VerstappenCan you repeat that last one?
32LambiaseHappy with your tyre metrics. Gap at 2.7.
32LambiaseMode six, mode six.
33BonningtonAnd gap at one second. Last lap 22.1.LambiaseThere’ll be blue flags for Mazepin ahead. Gap behind 1.6. Last lap 21.4.
34BonningtonGap at one second.LambiaseGap at 1.0.
35LambiaseAt one second.
35VerstappenCan you let me know the gap a bit sooner?
35LambiaseGap at 0.9.
36BonningtonGo menu dash position three, dash position three.LambiaseEngine eight position four when you can, engine eight position four.
36LambiaseGap at 1.1.
37LambiaseAnd you are approaching blue flags for Schumacher ahead.
38BonningtonMay be traffic on exit.LambiaseGap at 0.9.
38HamiltonHard to follow here.Lambiase1.1.
39BonningtonOK copy. Can you go SAM Mode two, SAM Mode two?Lambiase1.1.
39BonningtonLewis can you go HHP three position two, three position two.
40BonningtonGap ahead 1.2.VerstappenIs the wind picking up?
40BonningtonLewis can you go menu dash five, menu dash five and let us know if the balance is better on this medium.LambiaseI think it’s just variable gusts at the moment, Max. On average, wind speed looks similar.
40Lambiase0.9. And strat nine position two, strat nine position two when you can.
41HamiltonNope, need more out.LambiaseGap at 0.9.

Laps 42-44: Mercedes gamble on a second stop

Hamilton was poised to strike at Verstappen before Mercedes brought him in again

Hamilton appeared quick enough to pass Verstappen on the track. But Mercedes thought he would have a better chance later in the race when Verstappen’s tyres were even older.

As Hamilton arrived at the chicane on lap 42 he was told to pit – as late as Mercedes dared to leave it, to avoid tipping off Red Bull. Even so pitting at this stage was a risk. Had another Safety Car period occured, Verstappen would have had the chance of making a ‘free’ pit stop.

Strikingly, both strategists immediately recognised the similarity to a previous race. Hamilton used the same tactics to win the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, and they proved just as successful the second time.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
42BonningtonOkay Lewis box opposite Verstappen, box box opposite Verstappen.Verstappen(Unclear)
42LambiaseBlue flags for Latifi ahead.
42LambiaseGap 0.8.
42LambiaseHamilton in this lap. Could be Hungary all over again here.
43BonningtonOut-lap critical. Let’s go strat five.LambiaseAnd strat 10 position two please Max. Strat 10 position two when you can.
43BonningtonYou’re all clear on exit. Leclerc car behind, six seconds.Lambiase24 laps remaining, 24 laps.
43BonningtonFront brakes are really hot.LambiaseHamilton scrub medium.
43BonningtonSo Verstappen hasn’t reacted.
43BonningtonCan we have chassis default 84 chassis default eight four.
44HamiltonHow far have I’ve got to catch up?
44BonningtonCurrently 22 seconds. We’ve done it before.
44BonningtonAnd target lap time low 21, low 21.
44BonningtonLewis can we go menu position two just get out of the default. And go to strat mode seven when you can.

Laps 45-57: The chase

Bottas cost Hamilton almost a second and a half

Hamilton was concerned about the gap to Verstappen, but not the fact they had a car between them. Bottas could be expected to offer little resistance to his team mate. Though while he was reminded more than once not to hold his team mate up, Hamilton said nothing about the team’s other car as he bore down on it, even as he lost 1.4 seconds diving past on lap 52.

Verstappen never encountered his team mate on the track. But his frustration showed when his team advised him where he might find lap time compared to his team mate, aware that Hamilton was closing in.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
45HamiltonThat’s a massive gap.LambiaseOkay, 22 laps remaining. Gap to Lewis, 21.3. His last lap was a 20.7. At this rate, he would catch us on the last lap.
45BonningtonYeah that’s a cracking lap time, Lewis, though. Verstappen was a 23.0.LambiaseBlues for Russell ahead.
45BonningtonSo P3 at the moment. Valtteri ahead, nine seconds. Valtteri doing 22.0. A
45BonningtonAnd target lap time now high 20s, high 20s.
46HamiltonYeah man, I’m trying.
46HamiltonLet me know about my progress.
46BonningtonAnd gap to Verstappen 18.8. Last lap was a 22.4.
47HamiltonHow many laps left?Lambiase20 laps remaining.
47Bonnington20 laps.LambiaseMode 10, mode 10.
47BonningtonGap to Verstappen 17.6. Last lap a 22.6.LambiaseBlue flags for Gasly ahead.
47VerstappenI don’t see how we are going to make it to the end.
48BonningtonGap to Verstappen 15.7. Last lap a 23.0. He’s reporting struggling with his tyres.LambiaseUnderstood, Max. Keep focussed.
50BonningtonAnd gap to Verstappen 13.7, last lap 23.0.LambiaseEngine 11 position six, engine eleven position six.
50BonningtonValtteri ahead, 2.6 seconds. Verstappen, 12.6, last lap 22.3.LambiaseThere’ll be blue flags for Mazepin ahead.
51BonningtonGap to Verstappen 11.1.LambiaseMax, losses to Checo turn four, braking turn 10.
51VerstappenYeah but mate I’m fucking racing with Lewis behind me, trying to keep up with him with his pace and I’m fucking my tyres so what do you want me to do?
52BonningtonOkay Lewis is back in P2. Got Verstappen 11.5 ahead, 14 laps remaining.LambiaseJust information.
53BonningtonAnd gap to Verstappen at 10.9. Last lap 22.2Lambiase14 laps remaining. Gap to Hamilton 11 seconds.
54BonningtonGap to Verstappen at 8.9. last lap 22.5,LambiaseThat’s much better pace Max, keep it up. It is just turn 10 entry, that’s all.
55HamiltonMight not have any tyre left at the end.LambiaseYou’ll be getting blue flags for Ocon ahead.
55BonningtonCopy Lewis, we think Verstappen may have less.
55HamiltonHe definitely will, he will.
55BonningtonVerstappen 6.9 ahead, gap 22.7.
56BonningtonGap to Verstappen at 4.9. Last lap was a 22.9.
57BonningtonAnd that gap now at 3.2. Verstappen 22.6.LambiaseMode six, Mode six.
57LambiaseThat’s 10 laps remaining.

Laps 58-60: Hamilton moves in for the kill

Verstappen was powerless to stop Hamilton taking the lead as lap 60 began

There was a brief period of radio silence at Mercedes as Hamilton closed in and performed a straightforward pass on Verstappen for the lead. It looked a foregone conclusion, and neither driver remarked on it.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
58BonningtonOkay Lewis gap at 1.7. Last lap 22.4. I’ll just leave you to it.LambiaseNine laps remaining. Gap at three seconds.
59LambiaseOkay so once you use the overtake it will be mode eight in combination with the overtake button.
60BonningtonThat’s what we talk about Lewis, nice work.VerstappenIs Bottas in our pit window?
60BonningtonSo it’ll be six lap remaining.LambiaseNegative. Box and pit confirm, please. Box, pit confirm Max.
60BonningtonSo Verstappen in the pits, six laps remaining.LambiaseStrat 12, strat 12.

Laps 61-64: Verstappen’s consolation point

Verstappen took another set of softs to grab the fastest lap bonus

Alert as ever to the strategic options on offer, Verstappen immediately spied the chance to grab the bonus point for fastest lap by making an extra pit stop to fit fresh tyres. He closed on Hamilton quickly enough that Mercedes decided they couldn’t risk doing the same with the race leader.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
61Hamilton[Unclear]LambiaseStrat eight, strat eight.
61BonningtonNegative.LambiaseWhite line on the exit. So Mazepin alongside you. Let’s try to get past him and then we’ll sort ourselves out. So focus on charging the battery at the moment. Bottas six seconds behind. He’s got two cars ahead of him before yourself. So just get yourself ahead of Mazepin.
61BonningtonOkay Lewis, five to go, let’s just bring it home.VerstappenWhat is the gap to somebody in front?
61LambiaseMode nine please, mode nine. The gap ahead is 10 seconds, that is not an issue. We’ll monitor that.
61VerstappenHow much do I need to go faster?
61LambiaseSo fastest lap currently Checo 19.4. So that’s minus two seconds on your dash. Recharge on now. Recharge on. Strat one and mode one when you’re ready. Obviously recharge off. So as I say minus two on your dash for fastest lap.
62HamiltonThey going to get the fastest lap?
62BonningtonVerstappen will be closing our pit window very soon, so we don’t want to take the risk.
63BonningtonLewis just information but it feels like the wind’s picking up now.LambiaseStrat eight and mode nine, please.
63LambiaseFour laps remaining.
63LambiaseSo we just want to stay within Hamilton’s pit window. Last lap 21.6 to Hamilton.
64HamiltonYep.LambiaseIt’ll be blue flags for Norris ahead.
64BonningtonLewis you can go strat mode five to the end. Two laps to go.

Laps 65-66: Hamilton brings it home

With little else to do in the closing laps, Hamilton’s thoughts turned to the start of the race, and what more he might have done to keep Verstappen behind.

After the chequered flag the Mercedes team congratulated themselves on a well-played tactical win. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reflected that Mercedes were able to do what they did because of the gap behind the leaders. Had Sergio Perez been there, that might not have been the case.

But as Verstappen made clear in the press conference a few minutes later, the reason for Red Bull’s defeat was simple: They were “too slow”.

LapHamilton’s radio messagesVerstappen’s radio messages
65LambiaseTwo laps remaining.
66HamiltonWas my start on target?LambiaseFinal lap.
66BonningtonCopy Lewis, start was on target.LambiaseOkay Max fail 84 please, fail 84. Nice work today.
66BonningtonGet in there, Lewis. What a great drive, man! You made that strategy work beautifully. And go strat one when you can.
EndVowlesLewis it’s James, well done mate, impressive drive.VerstappenYeah just too slow. It’s impossible to keep them behind.
EndHamiltonThanks James, great job with the strategy. Definitely had to work for it but that was a good race. Absolutely great. Well done.HornerThat was a good effort, Max. Yeah, I don’t know what else we could have done there, but good effort.
EndWolffYeah Lewis perfect combination create great strategy and bold and great, great driving. Congratulations.HornerUnfortunately, like Hungary, they had a free stop behind them, so they had all the options.
EndHamiltonCongrats Toto. And to you.VerstappenYeah. It helps a lot when you are clearly just faster. So I think it doesn’t really matter if they would have done a one or a two.
EndHamiltonTo all the men and women at this team, man, you guys just continue to impress me and the more we continue to achieve together. Thank you so much for the hard work. Let’s keep pushing.HornerYeah, they definitely looked like they got the upper hand in race pace today.
EndBonningtonCopy Lewis, we’ll keep pushing to the end. You certainly impressive today, as always.
EndHamiltonSet-up was sweet, Bono.
EndBonningtonCheers bud. Really great work this weekend.
Verstappen led most of the race, but Hamilton took another win

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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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47 comments on “‘We’ll discuss what went wrong’: Hamilton and Verstappen team radio transcript analysis”

  1. Looks like Keith did listen to our longing of team radios…

    As Hamilton arrived at the chicane on lap 42 he was told to pit – as late as Mercedes dared to leave it, to avoid tipping off Red Bull.

    Quick thinking if you were Hamilton, and if Hamilton did not pit, that might have been race over there, as Red Bull would have likely heard that, and covered them next lap.

    1. @krichelle I don’t think it would have been race over there. Actually for all the plaudits the Merc strategy team are getting I think there were multiple routes to victory, they just had to pick the safest one. If Hamilton had continued another lap in the second stint and Verstappen deciding to preempt him by pitting the following lap, the Merc had two options; either continue to the end on mediums (like Max attempted but with better pace and 5 laps fresher tyres), or go long again and pit later to close and pass Max later in the race. Bear in mind Max didn’t have another set of mediums so would have to run a 22 lap stint on softs, which would have faded faster.

      Given how fast Lewis closed on Max in the second stint I think he would have won with either of those strats. Merc/Lewis just had too much pace for Redbull/Max to cover in this race.

  2. That mix-up around Max’s stop; I wondered at the time if the stop was forced on them.

    Maybe the radio message was meant to be interpreted as “my tyres are finished, I’m coming in” – all the explanations would still be truthful, just not quite the full story. That is, not exactly an error / misinterpretation of the planned stop lap.

    1. isthatglock21
      11th May 2021, 17:46

      I think Max himself knows he screwed up by pitting a lap earlier, it’s very unusual. Usually even if you 100% know your pitting you still pit confirm & communicate it, He just went 1 lap too early & the tyres weren’t all out for him, luckily Redbull are good at pitstops as at Merc it would’ve turned into a circus 30 second stop with everyone running about

      1. Doing an overcut only works when its a surprise. So looking at the text i guess there was some coded message that did not communicate the way they planned.

    2. Watching all the messages it looked to me a coded message which was not done properly. It’s to supprise Mercedes which worked or not but i think there was a miscommuntion between pitwall and pitcrew. His Engineer knew max was pitting.

  3. It seems towards the end of the race, Red Bull’s best hope was to put Max with 10-12 laps to go and see what could be done on soft tyres running just sub 1:19s in order to catch Hamilton. It just felt like they gave up with that Hungary 2019 message. I feel like they should have tried it anyway – 1pt for fastest lap is negligible compared to a 14pt swing in the championship. There’s absolutely no way Bottas would have held him up on old mediums (in this scenario he wouldn’t have pitted of course), so 2nd place would have been guaranteed anyway. Horner said there was nothing to be done, but I really don’t believe that looking at Max’s pace at the end there.

    1. I think they just lacked too much speed on the straight and they wanted to be sure of P2 now they’re behind.

      I heared in a (serious and no orange fanboy) dutch podcast it looks like Honda has to put the engine down a bit because of reliability. If this is the case I hope they sort it out

    2. Yes, true, I said it on another article, it was the right time to try, because I thought they had some chance as soon as hamilton pitted with 22 sec and 22 laps, but when it got to 10 sec and 13 laps that was the moment to pit since it was obvious hamilton would get past, and verstappen’s pace on new softs was pretty impressive.

  4. Why are drivers being told their own lap times. Can’t they see it on the dash themselves?

    1. Nope. They only have a lap time delta.

      1. You mean delta to their ‘target’? Or to the previous lap?

        1. @sumedh Personal best delta. If + precedes a number (red-colored for some), a driver is slower than his PB.
          – (preceding a green or occasionally purple-colored figure, at least for Mercedes) for the opposite.
          AlphaTauri only has -, meaning that without it, Gasly and Tsunoda are slower than their ghost best.

      2. Anon A. Mouse
        12th May 2021, 1:14

        I can’t speak to the other teams since I don’t watch their onboards, but the Mercedes has a couple of different dash displays that will freeze on the lap time as they cross the line. They additionally have a lap time delta that seems to be variable among their fastest lap, their last lap, and a target time.

        To sumedh’s question, it’s probably just easier to process mentally when it comes verbally as opposed to having to read it. If people have F1TV Pro I encourage them to spend a race weekend or two watching the onboards of their favorite driver/team. There’s a lot of knowledge to be gained. A good few to go back and watch is Russell at the second Bahrain race weekend as they spend a decent amount of time getting him up to speed on what to do and when. Russell is also chattier during a session than Hamilton – eager to provide feedback, to which the common response was to wait until he got back into the pits and plug into the local radio.

    2. Since pit to car telemetry is forbidden they rely on radio and the boards on the straight to know what the other drivers are doing and their gaps.

  5. Joe Pineapples
    11th May 2021, 14:41

    That was an excellent read.

  6. Fascinating to read all the info that goes back and forth between the driver and the pitwall. The cat and mouse games that goes on between strategists are part of what makes this sport awesome. Really impressed.

  7. What went wrong is that in Spain Mercedes were still the benchmark that they have been for 7+ seasons, and all Max could do was a bit more, briefly, with a bit less. But at least for the season they are close, hopefully, and there is a good chance RBR will be the bit more not the bit less at enough tracks coming up. Unless of course this is a sign that Mercedes has taken over, which would be less the surprise than RBR taking over from the dynasty as the new benchmark.

    1. Indeed, it’s kinda worrying cause I would say in qualifying red bull had the upper hand the first 2 races, mercedes the other 2, and for the race it seemed even the first race and mercedes advantage the others, it seems to be swinging in mercedes direction, I hope that changes ofc.

  8. I was expecting an Easter egg in the transcripts with Toto’s complaint.

  9. Unfortunately, like Hungary, they had a free stop behind them, so they had all the options.

    – Horner

    Someone should ask Horner: why Red Bull at least did’nt anticipated an extra set of mediuns to cover a Hungary scenario like Mercedes did?

    Max did everything he could to protect his lead, but when you see he taking a gamble in his early pitstop, it shows a lack of confidence in Red Bull strategy.

    Excepcional effort from Max, not so from Red Bull.

    1. The issue wasn’t the lack of the spare tyres, they had a new set of sorts which they could use and would have lasted until the end of the race. The issue was they would immediately have relinquished the lead to Bottas and would have needed to pass him in order to win. With Hamilton running on Verstappens heels, Bottas would only need to have held Verstappens up for a couple of laps to allow Hamilton to fully close in.

      As with Hungary 2019, they lacked their 2nd driver who if he was within Hamilton’s pit window, would have allowed for Verstappen to make a safer stop, with Perez running rear guard to slow Hamilton’s pursuit.

      1. @maddme Do you really think Bottas on old mediums could keep Verstappen on new softs behind for very long? I don’t.

        1. He wouldn’t have needed to have held him up for long, and considering the lack of overtaking positions on the circuit, slowing him for a couple of seconds wouldn’t have been difficult.

    2. While it was a great effort by Max, it seemed to me he let the team down by pitting when they weren’t ready for him. If he’d waited until he was called in then he’d have had a quicker pit stop. However I suspect Lewis would still have overtaken him.

  10. Interesting that the longest message is max blowing his top when told Perez is quicker in a couple corners. Perez was nowhere in the race so why did he care so much?

    Also interesting how rbr could tell where and how Hamilton was saving his tires. In particular Hamilton was slow out of 15. Which is how max was just parrying him out of drs range lap after lap. Maybe this was the key to the win as hamitlton was not punishing his tires in a hard acceleration and verstappen had to boot it out of that corner every lap.

    1. That sure made a difference. Peter Windsor comments on this in his after race review (YT) as well. Full credit to Lewis for brilliantly positioning the car. I just am not sure whether it was lack of skill why Max didnt position as well in some corners or lack of what the car was able to do when you need it to match the race pace of Lewis. Nature of the sport I guess. Not an exact copy of each others car, never a real comparison.

    2. Just a style of driving that some are good at no matter what the car. LeClerc is another one with a similar style. Pre covid we used to get a plethora of pics of the cars at the point they come out of T2 and turn into T3. Invariably Ham, LeClerc and a few others will have the car balance perfectly just at turn in. Same as coming out of a corner; get the car balanced, then hit the fast peddle.

  11. Thank you for these radio conversations. I read them all with a great interest.

  12. “was my start on target?”

    “Copy Lewis, start was on target”

    Does anyone know exactly what this means? I’m curious what Target he was referencing. Whether it was a time or a strategy or what.

    1. Reaction time, clutch bite on point and no wheel spin! All on target except that Max had slight better start, braked a tiny bit late and floored the throttle to torpedo his car into the inside leaving Lewis to either bail out or crash!

    2. Anon A. Mouse
      12th May 2021, 1:18

      If you ever get to listen to Hamilton’s onboards during practice and practice starts, shortly after the pull away his engineer will tell him that his clutch position was shallow/on target/deep, and what percentage it was shallow/deep.

  13. Max “Coultard” Verstappen just doesn’t have “it”. He’s fine against mediocre teammates, and that is all he has faced, but can’t deal with pure class. Sort of a hothouse flower.

    1. Yeah sure, that’s why he ranks only behind Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen in number of wins among current drivers… I really don’t understand why people feel the constant necessity to blast the guy. This not the “Highlander”. There can be more than one (great). Saying Max is doing great would never take something away from Lewis being an absolute master. Let’s just enjoy the wonderous talents we see on track these days. We’ve got a bunch of all-time greats and some extraordinary young guns. We rise by elevating others, not by talking them down.

      1. Getting really tired with fans of one driver always having to bad mouth other drivers.
        (That’s not only for Hamilton fans, but also other fans)

        How does it make your driver look better if you’re saying the other drivers are rubbish?
        Can’t we just enjoy a grid with multiple world champions and finally some teams that are more or less matched?

    2. Verstappen is many things but he’s not coulthard, I’d liken him more to schumacher and I mean it as a positive since I’m a fan of both.

  14. Thanks Keith.

    What stikes me is the sheer amount of switch position instruction from the engineers. It seems like an awful lot of switch changes to absorb while driving around a circuit as quick as you can.

    1. Wont put the links here but if you go to youtube and put in Ham or Max radio Monaco 2019 it’ll blow your mind. Given the tyre issues the amount of radio traffic for Ham is probably a one off and understandable. But Max’s is about the average amount.

  15. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    12th May 2021, 4:45

    Ah the good old radio transcript is back :’)

    A few years ago when this site used to be called F1fanatic, radio transcripts used to be my favourite thing. That, along with James Allen’s post race column in which he would discuss alternative strategies were the 2 things I looked forward to most following a race weekend.
    Unfortunately, he stopped writing them 4-5 years ago, and radio transcripts have a become a rarity nowadays. But Mark Hughes’ articles are a good read too.

    1. My sentiments exactly!

  16. I believe RedBull saw 2019 Hungary coming after Lewis’s pitstop, especially Lewis starts to make very impressive laptimes. RedBull should see this coming and put on soft for Verstappen way earlier, not just for the 1pt fastest lap point. Fighting with soft is way better than sticking with old medium imo.

  17. I would like to see the amount of allowed conversation limited to pit stops. Let the driver do his/her thing. The current situation takes even more shine from the driver to the car. This way only a WCC competiton would be fair. There is an awful lot that needs to be managed.

    1. We tried that. It was terrible.

  18. You know, that move by Verstappen on Hamilton at the start was like something out a racing sim, that i have to wonder if Verstappen used a sim to prove that start workes, before its excution. Just dive down the inside, “what’s the worst that could happen”?

  19. Julian Sark
    13th May 2021, 6:26

    Innocent question:

    Didn’t FIA want to crack down on the driver coaching over the radio? If so: how does the constant messages about “switch this, chassis mode that, strat mode this” fit into that?

  20. Out of context, Verstappen continuously gets technical aid compared to Hamilton, who is having mostly before a special occasion.

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