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Lewis Hamilton

Brundle: Hamilton made a mistake trying to overrule Mercedes

There have been question marks over whether Mercedes made the right decision in pitting Lewis Hamilton eight laps from the end of the Turkish Grand Prix. However, Martin Brundle believes that Hamilton has to take some of the blame for the situation.

Hamilton Turkey
To news overview © Mercedes

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle believes that it was a "mistake" for Lewis Hamilton to try to overrule Mercedes in deciding whether or not to pit during the latter stages of Sunday's damp Turkish Grand Prix.

Mercedes called Hamilton in for a stop when he was running in third place, but the seven-time World Champion argued that it would be better to stay out. After back and forth over the radio, he ultimately followed the team's advice and pitted for a fresh set of Intermediate tyres.

This put Hamilton down to fifth and he was unable to make up places during the final eight laps of the race, resulting in him voicing criticism about the decision, though the Briton has since taken to social media to deny being "furious" with the team.

Brundle believes that it was wrong of Hamilton to question the pit call in the first place.

"I think yesterday was a mistake on Lewis' part," Brundle told Sky Sports News.

"We have seen him overrule the team in the past and it's worked out very well – for example in Turkey last year when he ran right through to the end and it was a glorious victory.

"But 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 a new engine and grid penalty to go with that.

"I think Lewis put his team off-balance and it was a bit of a no-man's [land] stop in the end."

Hamilton said after the race that his "gut feeling" had been to stay out, and Brundle remarked on this, commenting: "You have to respect Lewis' seven titles and his gut feeling out on the track.

"But at the same, he has to respect that his team have got a copious amount 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."

Had Hamilton not pitted, he would have faced the challenge of finishing the race on the same set of Intermediate tyres that he started it with. The only driver to do this was Alpine's Esteban Ocon, yet the risk was clear at the end of the Grand Prix, with one of the Frenchman's tyres sporting a huge hole.

Reflecting on this, Brundle thinks it is unlikely that Hamilton's tyres could have survived, saying: "He had to stop, I'm pretty sure.

"If we look at Esteban Ocon's tyres in the Alpine, it was down to the canvas. Common sense tells you it probably wouldn't have worked out, but Lewis felt he wanted to do that."

Hamilton's fifth-place finish – in comparison to title rival Max Verstappen's second – means he has now lost the lead in the World Championship standings by six points, but Brundle believes this is "not the end of the world" for the 36-year-old.

"This incredible season is turning on a fastest lap here or maybe a Sprint race victory or a bit of luck or a bit of reliability. It's really so, so close.

"Red Bull will be concerned at the raw pace of the Mercedes over the weekend, Valtteri Bottas was outstanding in every respect and he will be in there helping Lewis as well for the World Championship.

"We're in for an amazing finish to this season."

F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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