Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes made the wrong call on when to change his tyres during the closing stages of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who had climbed from 11th on the grid to fifth in the early stages, rose to third as drivers ahead of him pitted. He turned down an early request from Mercedes to pit as he was happy with the performance from his tyres.
However as the race entered the final laps Mercedes again called Hamilton to pit, and warned him that if he didn’t he would no longer be able to make a pit stop and come out of Pierre Gasly in sixth place.
Hamilton came into the pits and rejoined ahead of Gasly. However his pace was poor as he suffered graining on the intermediate tyres over the final laps.
Asked whether he could have reached the end of the race without pitting, Hamilton said: “Well, Ocon’s did, I heard, so I assume they probably could.”
However he admitted he had doubts over whether his tyres would reach the end of the race when he pitted.
“The tyres are bald so you don’t know how far they’re going to go,” he told Sky. “So there’s definitely the worry of the life of the tyre.
“But also, I wasn’t really that fast at the end there. I was struggling, had low grip. Not really sure why. But then all of a sudden I’d have not such bad pace. But I was losing performance to the guys behind.”
Hamilton believes he would have been better off pitting earlier, when the others did, or not at all.
“Probably in hindsight, I should have either stayed out or come in much earlier. Because when you come in with eight laps to go, you don’t have time to go through the graining phase of that [intermediate] tyre on a drying track.
“So then I went through this whole sliding phase where I nearly lost more positions. So it’s frustrating, but it is what it is.”
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2021 Turkish Grand Prix
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