Mercedes has acknowledged their blunder at the Hungarian GP that cost Lewis Hamilton the win in the race.
The German team had a rollercoaster of a race. They managed to come out of a Lap 1 disaster with their first place still intact, despite losing Valtteri Bottas to retirement. Bizarrely, they threw away the lead when the told Hamilton to avoid pitting like the rest of the grid. That backfired spectacularly, and even though Hamilton managed to take P3, it was a case of ‘what could have been’.
Although Team Principal Toto Wolff asserted that it was the right decision, there are contrasting opinions coming from his own camp. Technical director Mike Elliott disagreed with Wolff, acknowledging the blunder committed.
“Clearly in hindsight, we made the wrong choice. But you have to bear in mind those decisions are really, really tricky,” Elliott said.
“We agonised over what tire to fit at the very start of the race. As it turned out, the inter was definitely the right choice because it started raining on the lap to the grid. We agonised over what tire to fit after the red flag, and clearly all of the cars fitted inters. And on that lap to the grid, even though all the drivers had fitted inters, clearly others decided to change their mind, and we should have too.
“But the reality is it’s actually more difficult for us as a team than it is for the other teams. When you are the front car, you can’t see what everybody else is doing – you are the lead car,” Elliott concluded.
Best of a bad situation
Hamilton had grabbed pole position during qualifying, and was the favourite to win. However, in a dramatic race that saw an unlikely winner and podium, he will be glad to have finished where he did.
The other good news for him was that after his fantastic drive, he leapfrogged Max Verstappen to take the lead in the WDC standings. Furthermore, Mercedes did the same to Red Bull.
Hamilton and Mercedes will be looking to leave their rivals in the dust at the Belgian GP. The race for gold has only just begun.