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Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes explain Hamilton strategy gamble

Hamilton switched to the Soft tyre at the end of the British Grand Prix.

Norris hamilton Silverstone
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes Technical Director James Allison has revealed why Lewis Hamilton selected the Soft tyre for the final stint of the British Grand Prix.

The seven-time F1 World Champion benefitted from a Safety Car just past midway at Silverstone to jump into third, ahead of McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri.

When making his pit stop under the neutralised conditions, Hamilton chose an aggressive Soft tyre run to the end, a differing view to McLaren and Lando Norris, who occupied second.

Norris was forced to fend off an onslaught from Hamilton at the restart as his Hard tyres took longer to come up to temperature, allowing the Mercedes driver to attack relentlessly.

But despite his better grip, Hamilton was forced to settle for third as Norris' compound came into its working window.

Explaining the strategy choice, Allison explained: "Several other drivers chose the Hard tyre, but Lewis selected the Soft.

"We knew we could make the Soft tyre run for a good number of laps and at a good pace - George had just shown us that in a car running on full fuel at the beginning of the race, running at a decent pace with good tyre degradation and good performance.

"But more important than that, we know that Silverstone is a tough circuit to overtake at - a big, fast, flowing circuit - but the straights are actually not that long and the DRS effect not that big, so you don't have much of a chance to overtake there.

"You have to have a lot of performance in hand to make it stick, so we felt our best opportunity of slipping past Norris with Lewis was going to be during the tyre warm-up phase once the Safety Car goes in and then everybody is trying to get up to full ramming speed as fast as possible."

Racing choice

"We knew Norris was going to take the Hard tyre - we didn't know but we suspected - we knew we could be good on the Soft tyre and for a few precious laps, that could give us a decent performance margin over a very fast McLaren," Allison added.

"If we could press our attack home in those few laps before the Hard tyre came up to temperature, then we might just nip by and thereafter, we would have the pace to stay in front.

"So our Soft tyre choice gave us the best opportunity to make that happen and, indeed, if you watch the restart off the back of the Safety Car, no DRS and when the Soft tyre was performing at its best, even without DRS we came incredibly close to making the overtake stick.

"In the end, we weren't quite quick enough to make it happen and Norris was able to gradually eke away from Lewis once his tyres came into their window.

"But it was just a racing choice and the best opportunity we felt, to get past a very racy McLaren on that day.

"It didn't pay off, but it was a lot of fun and we nearly did it."

F1 2023 British Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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