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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton: Mercedes' Russell order 'made no sense' in Japanese GP

Lewis Hamilton has questioned Mercedes' strategy of asking him to provide teammate George Russell with DRS.

Hamilton Russell Japan
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton has stated that it “made no sense” to provide team-mate George Russell with DRS in the final laps of the Japanese Grand Prix to defend from Carlos Sainz.

Late on in the Suzuka race, Russell was running in fifth place but had Hamilton and Sainz closing in behind.

Russell was on much older tyres as he opted to change his tyres just once, while his rivals behind were running two-stop strategies.

Russell suggested to Mercedes that it should make use of DRS to keep Sainz behind - a similar strategy deployed by the Spaniard in Singapore last week en route to victory.

However, Mercedes swapped its cars around before asking Hamilton to give Russell DRS - but Sainz's advantage was enough to see him by the latter.

The Spaniard then pursued Hamilton but couldn't overtake the seven-time World Champion for fifth, while Russell took seventh on the one-stop.

Hamilton's Russell DRS

Speaking to media including RacingNews365 after the race, Hamilton moved to question Mercedes' strategic use of DRS.

“I don't think it was a good idea,” he said. “When they suggested it to me, I knew that they obviously thought of it from the last race and it made no sense.

“I needed to get as far clear ahead as possible. And I was on my way, I was around two seconds ahead and they asked me to give George DRS.

“So I had to come off the gas down the straight to get him 0.8 seconds behind.

“Then he got the DRS but then he got overtaken which was going to happen because he was on a one-stop.

“He [Sainz] got past him [Russell] and then he was right on my tail, so not ideal. It made it very, very hard for the last couple laps.

“I think as a team, we've got to be grateful for fifth and seventh. It's better than sixth and seventh.”

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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