Mika Hakkinen has praised Mercedes for their strategic decision making in Spain, saying that they are 'streets ahead' of Red Bull Racing.
Mercedes, having lost track position on the first lap in Spain, responded to Max Verstappen's aggression with their own aggressive pitstop strategy. This resulted in Lewis Hamilton coming out 22 seconds behind Verstappen with 22 laps to go, but the reigning Champion used his much fresher tyres to catch and pass the Dutch driver.
Hakkinen believes the trust between Hamilton and Mercedes was imperative to the win, especially as Hamilton revealed after the race that he had initially considered ignoring the call to pit for a second time.
"Trust is an important part of the teamwork we see in Formula 1, and Lewis Hamilton’s 98th victory was down to the trust he placed in his race strategists when they called him in for a second pit stop," Hakkinen wrote in his blog for UniBet.
"To some people this looked like a mistake, leaving Lewis with a 22 second gap to race leader Max Verstappen, but Mercedes’ strategists knew that the World Champion had the pace to catch and overtake the Red Bull.
"This had been planned by Mercedes all weekend. They gave both Lewis and Valtteri Bottas a 2-stop strategy option on Sunday by having two sets of medium tyres available - a new set and a used set - while Red Bull only gave Max a one set of mediums for the race.
"This is so typical of Mercedes and is the reason why Lewis and Valtteri know they are driving for the best team in Formula 1 at the moment. Not only is the car quick enough to compete with the very strong Red Bull, but the team are on top of their job with strategy calls.
"Looking at these first four races, Mercedes has done a fantastic job at
using strategy to gain an advantage over Red Bull. The small mistakes
from Max have given Lewis opportunities."