Mark Hughes has given his opinion on Lewis Hamilton’s wild Turkish GP, and analysed how it was a mild disaster for him.
Hamilton finished fifth after blitzing past the field, behind both Red Bulls and his teammate. That was not the damage limitation result he was looking for. It was made worse by the fact that he lost his lead in the WDC standings, with Max Verstappen now ahead of him by six points.
Hughes gave his opinion on Hamilton’s Turkish GP, and provided some insight as to what happened at Istanbul.
“There were those who played it safe by pitting for fresh inters with about 20 laps to go, others who gambled on trying for the non-stop strategy,” Hughes wrote in his column for the Race. “These included (Charles) Leclerc and Hamilton, but ultimately, it was a busted flush.
“(Valtteri) Bottas and Max Verstappen, from first and second on the grid, played the safe cards, pitted for their second sets with plenty of laps left – and ran untroubled to those positions at the end.
“Hamilton’s fifth place finish lost him the championship lead on a day when Verstappen did another great damage limitation job in a less than fully competitive Red Bull.
“There were several ways it just didn’t come together as well for Hamilton here from his penalised grid slot than it did for Verstappen from his at Sochi.”
“Hamilton was within 3s of the fresher-tyred Verstappen and holding his own, but only because Max was taking care to not overstress the new rubber. Mercedes called Lewis in on the 41st lap.
“‘Why?’ he questioned. ‘Because new inters are the way to go,’ he was told. He was far from convinced. ‘OK, stay out then,’ came the reply.
“The team was ambivalent because it was a gamble that just might have paid off. If Hamilton could get the tyres to the end from here on a no-stop strategy, he’d be poised for third.
“Had the track dried enough to get onto slicks, then he might have been able to ambush a win,” he concluded.