S o nobody at Mercedes really wanted to admit it. The frustration sat too deep that Lewis Hamilton had only looked at himself and not at the team when he slowed down the field behind him to get World Cup opponent Nico Rosberg in trouble. Only Rosberg had no problem with it: “Lewis used all his skills perfectly. There was absolutely no way around him for me. There was no point in trying. He staged it in a perfect way. ”
It was only an hour later that even the engineers of Hamilton's controlled speed brake were able to gain admiration. Not only to think of yourself because of his slyness and his consistency. More like he did. Driving slowly is not that easy.
“Lewis was extremely clever. He accelerated in areas where it was dangerous and he strolled where overtaking is impossible. From turn 21 to turn 7 he accelerated. You have to admire him for that. He played his game excellently. It is really difficult to drive so slowly while keeping the tires alive so that he could react at any time, ”applauded an engineer.
Driving slowly is an art
Towards the end During the race the tires didn't have much rubber pads anymore. The asphalt temperature had dropped to 27 degrees. If you sneak around too long, you run the risk of never bringing the sensitive Pirelli soles back into your window or that they will start to grain. And then a Hamilton would also have been defenseless. Because there is no longer enough rubber pad on the cooled asphalt, which heats itself up due to friction with the road surface and movement.
That is why Hamilton has in Sector 3, in which he mainly only let the car roll, used the few fast corners to put pressure on the tires. In the target corner he accelerated. To ensure that Rosberg is not within one second at the DRS measuring points before curve 7 and after curve 9. At the braking point in turn 11, he let his team-mate unlock again. He knew that overtaking was not possible from turns 11 to 21.
In the end, Hamilton exaggerated the game a bit. He drove so slowly that Rosberg was able to drive in the DRS area for the last 3 laps. This made it difficult for Sebastian Vettel to overtake the second Mercedes. “With Verstappen I still had the DRS advantage. Not with Nico anymore. ”
Hamiltonshould have slowed Verstappen /Rosberg
But that was not the decisive mistake in Hamilton's plan. According to the engineers, it was in the middle section. That phase of the race when he drove away from Rosberg by up to 4.5 seconds. And from Hamilton's point of view, that was the mistake he might regret if he analyzed the race again in detail. He only let Rosberg get closer again when World Cup rival Max Verstappen had overtaken Max Verstappen on lap 20.
If the dethroned world champion had really wanted to take it to the top, he would not have gotten so far for the duo Verstappen /Rosberg allowed to drive away. Because he had no way of slowing Rosberg down and driving him into undercuts by Ricciardo or Raikkonen. Because he couldn't give Verstappen any time.
On laps 20 to 27, Rosberg drove an average of one second faster than in the slipstream of Verstappen. The Dutchman had to make up for this time later. He therefore caught up with Rosberg later and burned up his tires in such a way that he lost some ground on Rosberg and Vettel again in the last 4 laps.
Hamilton was missing information from the pits
However, Hamilton lacked a full overview of the race to tact. He couldn't estimate where Verstappen and Vettel were relative to him and Rosberg, as both were using completely different tactics. Race engineer Pete Bonnington could have controlled it remotely, but Hamilton's most important man at the pit wall was forbidden to do so much tutoring.
Comment from the command post: “It was not easy for Lewis to read the race because Verstappen was in another race drove and was not perceived as an opponent for a long time. Vettel's tactics with the super softs were also not foreseeable before the race. So it was difficult for Lewis and his engineer to plan the race. That's why Lewis missed a good opportunity to get Nico in trouble. '
' He shouldn't have opened such a big gap to Verstappen while Nico was behind Max. So he couldn't slow it down effectively for a few laps. So it was not possible for Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Vettel to beat Nico with an undercut. With perfect help from the pit wall, Lewis would have had a few more chances to make Nico's life difficult. ”
The driver and engineer are a team, but if the team's victory is in danger, the camps will listen -Politics on. Instead, Bonington had to give Hamilton two orders from the team's chief strategist, in which the man in the car with starting number 44 was ultimately asked to drive certain minimum lap times. With the addition: “This is an instruction.” And it usually has to be followed.
When that didn't work either, head of technology Paddy Lowe answered the radio: “Lewis, this is Paddy. You need to pick up the pace. ”Result: The last two laps were hisslowest in the race. Conclusion in the team: “Nico behaves according to the rules of the team. See Monaco when he immediately gave way to Lewis. Lewis sometimes drives by his own rules. ”