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Lewis Hamilton

Hakkinen: I can understand why Hamilton stayed out

Mika Hakkinen believes Lewis Hamilton's decision to pit for fresh Intermediate tyres was the right one, as he ran the risk of failing to finish in Turkey had he stayed out.

Hamilton Turkey rain
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Although Lewis Hamilton's decision to continue on heavily used Intermediate tyres didn't pan out in the end, Mika Hakkinen understands why the Mercedes driver tried to push through with the strategy.

Hamilton found himself in third place in the closing stages of the Turkish Grand Prix when Mercedes called him in for a new set of tyres. After initially opting to stay out on track, the Briton eventually followed the advice and came in.

In the end, the move resulted in Hamilton finishing the race down in P5. The decision has remained a key talking point since the race, with Hakkinen noting that while he understood Hamilton's desire to stay out, his performance would have dropped off had he remained on track.

"Lewis had a much more difficult race because of the critical timing of pit-stops," Hakkinen wrote in his column for Unibet.

"The best moment to stop was around the time when Max pitted, and that's precisely when Valtteri [Bottas] came in for a new set of Intermediates too. Any other strategy felt like a risk, even if the car felt OK at that moment.

"While I can understand why Lewis decided to stay out and try to keep going until the end of the race, for sure the tyre performance would have dropped away.

"We saw that with Esteban Ocon's Alpine, which never made a pit-stop, and also with Charles Leclerc's Ferrari, which stayed out and led the race for nine laps. Ultimately Charles' tyres were providing no grip, and that's what would have happened to Lewis."

Hamilton managed to finish P5, a result Hakkinen believes he should be happy with given he could have suffered a tyre failure had he stayed out.

"He could also have suffered a tyre failure, and failing to finish is really not something that he can risk in his battle with Max for the World Championship," Hakkinen added.

"In my opinion finishing fifth, on a day when Valtteri won and Max had to settle for second, was a good result for Lewis."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Do Mercedes need to assert more authority over Hamilton?

It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing Lewis Hamilton's strategy drama and much, much more from the Turkish Grand Prix.

F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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