(Motorsport-Total.com) – At the Austrian Grand Prix, Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fourth after a penalty. In the meantime, it looked as if the Mercedes driver could still challenge his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the fight for victory.
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After Hamilton, starting from fifth place, had overtaken Carlos Sainz (McLaren) and then Alex Albon (Red Bull) in the early stages of the race, the failure of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) washed him into second place on lap 11. The opportunity for Hamilton to make up for the top ground.
When it came to the first phase of the safety car, Bottas’ advantage was gone. But the Finn was able to stay in front with little effort, just like after the two following safety cars. According to Hamilton, they were the reason why he couldn’t challenge Bottas with any other strategy.
Hamilton’s strategy poker is not used
“The fact of the matter is that on this route, you know that in order to have an opportunity to overtake the car in front of you, you always want to try the opposite strategy,” explains Hamilton. “You need about an eight-tenth advantage over the car in front to have a chance.”
Therefore, the world champion wanted to use a different tire strategy, because “I knew that I would most likely finish behind him with the same tire”. But the safety car thwarted this plan. Both Mercedes were hard on both the first and second stop.
“I wanted to try to extend my stint as long as possible, then stop for the other tire and just take a risk, because ultimately (if I’m behind; note that R.) it is what I am about love to do, namely take a risk, “says Hamilton. “But it didn’t work that way.”
“Because of the safety car, other things came into play”
However, the Mercedes driver admits that on the way to the pits he did not remind his team of his wish to do something different. “When the safety car came out, I didn’t know which tires they would fit,” recalls Hamilton. “I assumed it would be the hard one.”
But he didn’t ask for an alternative: “As I said, I’m a risk taker. But I didn’t ask them. Normally I would have asked them before the stop, but because of the safety car, other things came into play and I didn’t do it so it’s perfectly fine. ” Bottas was sure of victory.
Hamilton in turn had to fend off an attack from Albon. The two clashed, pushing Albon back to the end of the field and eventually forcing him to give up while Hamilton received a five-second penalty. From second place in the finish line that threw him back to fourth place.