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Strategy does not work: Hamilton made the choice of tires himself

Strategy doesn't work
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F For a moment it looked like Nico Rosberg had to tremble for his sixth win of the season. The third in a row. It was at the end of the second stint when Lewis Hamilton closed a 7.1 second gap within 15 laps. Rosberg fought with his second set of tires with grains in the front right. That put pressure on the lap times. And Hamilton saw the chance to finally make his 44th GP victory perfect.

But the number 44 has to wait on. Hamilton once again asked for a different strategy than his stable rival. And this time he got it. For the first time. The team gave him his will so as not to have to hear the accusation again after the race, the strategists denied him the chance to beat Rosberg.

Tire delta too low to overtake

While Rosberg got his last set of tires on the 31st lap, which was to last 24 laps, Hamilton and race engineer Pete Bonnington decided for it Stay outside. Hamilton's lead at the time was 20.1 seconds. Logically, Rosberg caught up with the fresher tires. Bonnington prayed his driver down the distances to the opponent and explained where he would come out on the track if he went to the pits.

On lap 33 the announcement was: 'If you come in now, you go 6 , 1 seconds behind Nico again. ' Hamilton fell by the wayside. In the 36th round, Rosberg had already made up 4 seconds in the indirect duel. But for the strategists, the delta between the tires was still too small for Hamilton to have paid off.

Head of strategy James Vowles explains why: 'The soft tire deteriorated by 0.08 seconds per lap In a five-lap delta, Lewis could have driven almost half a second per lap faster than Nico after the pit stop. With the remaining distance, however, he could only have caught up, but never overtaken . '

Therefore, Hamilton was kept in the race until lap 41 on the second set. With only 9.8 seconds left on the teammate. But at that point a fresh set of tires would have given him a second advantage over Rosberg. Had he then managed to catch up, that would have been a speed difference with which an attack on the track could have been successful.

Hamilton hit the last oneTire selection

The world champion got hectic around the second pit stop. Between the cockpit and the pit wall there was a lively discussion about what to do. Hamilton asked if he could drive through. Answer Bonnington: 'Impossible.' Hamilton insisted: 'My tires are still good.' Hint from the command post: 'Nico drives 2 seconds per lap faster than you.' Vowles revealed: 'If Lewis had tried to drive through, Nico would have overtaken him seven laps later.'

On the 41st lap, Hamilton was at the pits. To everyone's surprise, Mercedes pulled on the hard tire compound. A surprise because Sebastian Vettel had put on super soft tires two laps earlier. Skeptics criticized that Mercedes Hamilton would have blocked the chance to win. In fact, it was a decision made by the driver and race engineer, as team boss Toto Wolff admitted: 'We allowed Lewis and his engineer to go their own way.'

But there was uncertainty at the command post. The strategists asked Hamilton twice and twice as often from the racing engineer which tires they preferred. At the end of the discussion, the mixture came out soft. 'We weren't quite sure whether the supersoft tires would survive 15 laps,' admitted Wolff. Vowles adds: 'Compared to Vettel on Supersoft, Lewis was just as fast on soft.'

The champion lost the race again because he was too slow. Another strategy couldn't get him past Rosberg either. The Abu Dhabi winner demonstrated his strength in the third stint. In contrast to the second, the tires have not been grained. The secret? 'Nico has changed his driving style,' reveal the engineers.


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