Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes F1 believes he had no choice but to stick to a one-stop strategy to compete with Max Verstappen at the F1 French Grand Prix.
Red Bull Honda F1 decided to have Max Verstappen make a second pit stop on lap 31. At that time Verstappen was running more than two seconds behind Lewis Hamilton.
But it was too late for Mercedes F1 to switch Lewis Hamilton to two stops. In other words, Hamilton had to run to the end with hard tires.
Max Verstappen regained the lead with two laps remaining, winning his third victory of the season.
Lewis Hamilton, who evaluated Mercedes’ strategy at Paul Ricard, said, “He was so far ahead that in fact I had no choice but to stay out. Otherwise he Was undercutting me. He would have been in front of me and I think he couldn’t get past. They were straight and too early. So the only option is to stay out as long as possible. I just hoped the tires would bring it. “
“I didn’t know how strong it was, but what really surprised me was that I ran out of front tires early on, but obviously they had a good strategy and today it’s It worked really well. “
After the race, Mercedes chief strategist James Bowles apologized to Lewis Hamilton, saying “this is our responsibility” on Team Radio.
Mercedes F1 team representative Toto Wolff explained how Lewis Hamilton was undercut by Max Verstappen at the first stop.
“We were going back and forth. We were leading because Max made a mistake. It was a bit of a string. Our pace was good! We might even have a little margin. “
“There was a gap of about 3 seconds to protect the undercut, but that wasn’t enough. I didn’t have one second. I lost it somewhere.”
Toto Wolff also revealed that Valtteri Bottas damaged the tires in the first stint, causing a pit stop earlier than expected.
“No, I had no choice,” Toto Wolff added.
“Valtteri’s tires were starting to vibrate, and at the end we were really worried. The vibration was already in the suspension.”
“He was making flat spots on the tires and could break down at any time. I knew it was too early to trigger the stop, but I had no choice.”