Hamilton was left frustrated in Turkey
Lewis Hamilton made a “mistake” in not listening to Mercedes and coming into the pits earlier at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, according to Martin Bundle.
Hamilton was left frustrated after he lost two places in the closing stages of the race when Mercedes called him in for a late change of tyres. The seven-time world champion had been asked to pit earlier in the race but believed he could make it to the end on his original set of intermediates.
Although Hamilton questioned the decision on the team radio during the race, the seven-time world champion admitted in an Instagram post on Monday that pitting to prevent a late tyre blowout was the “safest thing to do”.
Mercedes’ decision to pit was supported by tyre manufacturer Pirelli, who said Hamilton’s intermediates wouldn’t have made it to the end of the race, even if Alpine driver Esteban Ocon was able to do so.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Brundle suggested that Hamilton could have improved on his fifth-place in Istanbul if he had pitted at the first opportunity.
“I think yesterday was a mistake on Lewis’ part,” Brundle said. “We have seen him overrule the team [before] and it’s worked out very well. In Turkey last year, when he ran right through to the end and it was a glorious victory, one of his finest, actually.
“Yesterday, I think all Mercedes had to do was mimic, to an extent, what Red Bull were doing, try to minimise the pain of him taking an engine penalty and a grid penalty to go with that.
“So, I think Lewis put his team off balance. They did a bit of a No Man’s Land stop in the end. It was too late in the day for him to use the tyres, but they had to stop.
“I’m pretty sure if we looked at Esteban Ocon’s tyres in the Alpine, for example, it was down to the canvas and I think, if they had let Lewis run to the end, Pirelli say it wouldn’t have worked out.
“Common sense tells you it probably wouldn’t have worked out, but Lewis felt he wanted to do that.
“Of course, in Sochi, the previous grand prix, he was complaining when he came in the pits, but the team were absolutely right to put the wet tyres on at the end, and he won that grand prix.
“So, it’s swings and roundabouts, you have to respect Lewis’ seven world titles and his gut feeling out on the track.
“At the same time, he has to respect the team have got copious amounts of information. They’re watching the entire race, all of the other cars and when they called him in, he kind of put them out of their stride.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he will work with Hamilton to improve the communication and “trust” between driver and team.
Hamilton is six points behind title rival Max Verstappen in the driver’s standings with six races of the season remaining.
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