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rus Live blog FP1
Start Russian GP
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Ralf Schumacher

Ralf Schumacher blames Hamilton, not Mercedes, for tyre change mistake

Ralf Schumacher believes that Lewis Hamilton was to blame for the strategic blunder that sent him spiralling to the back of the field in Hungary.

Interview
To news overview © Mercedes

Ralf Schumacher has pointed the finger firmly at Lewis Hamilton for making the wrong tyre call to start last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver, starting from pole position, was the only driver not to dive into the pits to ditch his intermediates for slicks at the restart. Pitting a lap later, he fell to the back of the field before recovering to finish third on the road.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365 from the TT Assen circuit, Schumacher looked back at last weekend's race and said that the call was firmly Hamilton's to make.

"Lewis made a big mistake during the Hungarian GP by not going in, the blame for that decision was completely with him and not with the Mercedes team," he said.

"It is the driver who has to make such a decision."

With Hamilton the only driver forming up on the grid to create a unique Formula 1 moment, Schumacher said that he could understand the reigning Champion's error.

"Look, of course I understand that if you are in the lead of the race you prefer not to take any risks," he said.

"Nevertheless, the moment Lewis drove past the entrance to the pit lane, it was clear that the rest of the field would go in.

"As a driver you know better than the team when you have to switch from intermediates to slicks or vice versa. That is why I immediately found it incomprehensible when I saw Hamilton drive past the entrance to the pit lane, I immediately knew that he was in the wrong."

Schumacher pointed out that it was a particularly rare moment of lapse for Hamilton, and said that was for the benefit of the title fight given the misfortunes suffered by Red Bull.

"It is precisely at such moments that he often shows that, but this time he made a mistake," he said.

"This will of course benefit the title fight, because Lewis was unable to finish the race in the end, partly due to this moment. As a result, we still have an exciting battle for the world title in Formula 1 at the moment."

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