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Mercedes

How Hamilton lost out to Verstappen's undercut

Mercedes bounced back in France after two disappointing races, however in the end they weren't able to get the better of Red Bull and Max Verstappen. Andrew Shovlin explained how the team lost out to the Dutchman during the first pit stop window.

Hamilton France
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To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin admits that if the team could go back and change the timing of Lewis Hamilton's pit stop in France they would, noting that several factors helped Max Verstappen make his undercut strategy work.

The Dutchman trailed Hamilton before coming into the pits for the first of his two stops, however he found himself out front after Mercedes waited to bring the Briton in. Shovlin pointed out that the pit stop itself wasn't what cost Hamilton the lead.

“Why did we not box Lewis the lap after Valtteri [Bottas]? Well, with hindsight we would have done that," Shovlin stated in Mercedes' race debrief on their YouTube channel. "The reality was that we had 3.2 seconds of clear air between Lewis and Max and that we thought was enough to protect against the undercut.

"Now, how did Max actually get out in front? Well, there is a couple of areas where we lost a bit of time. However, it wasn’t the pit stop, the pit stops themselves were very good.

"There was a bit that we lost at the back end of the lap and coming into the box with Lewis obviously on older tyres, we also had a bit of wheelspin leaving the pit box itself which cost a little bit but ultimately the issue was that in our tools, the amount of time we thought we needed to protect against the undercut was insufficient and we’ll make sure that we can get that corrected in the future but as I said, with hindsight we would have done that."

Verstappen made a second pit stop and ultimately passed Hamilton on the penultimate lap to take the victory. While Shovlin noted that bringing the Briton in earlier may not have changed the final outcome, it would have perhaps helped him retain the lead.

"That would have allowed Max to go and offset and be on a more similar strategy to Perez so he could have still presented a risk end of race, but what we wouldn’t have done was given up the lead of the race," Shovlin concluded.

F1 2021 French Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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