Hamilton was given ‘all the options’ in Abu Dhabi

In case you were wondering why Mercedes didn’t leave Lewis Hamilton out or try to fit him with Option tires for the final stint, the team did give him all the details and choices during the race and he agreed with the team and decided to pit.

According to the race radio transcription over a tMotorsport, Lewis had the details and determined that his race engineer was correct and pit for his final set of Prime tires. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff commented:

“First of all we gave [Lewis] all the options to choose what tyre he wanted to have, that was important for the fans to see,” said Wolff.

“He couldn’t really make a decision, the option [supersoft] had 7-8 laps, even though the car was lighter it would not have lasted until the end, it was a decision in his garage to go on prime [soft] to end.

“There was lots of conversation, I’m not sure it was broadcast, between his race engineer and him to decide what to go for.

“We wanted to give him a real shot at the win at the end, the pace was not there at the end it was a shot strategy wise and it was his decision.”

The on thing I could read in to is Lewis’s final comment during the radio conversation:

PB: “We’ve got 18 laps remaining, I think we may stick with the prime tyre, it’s holding up well.”

LH: “If I was to back off right now, and look after these tyres to the end, how slow can I go per lap?”

PB: “I think that would be pretty much impossible to do.”

LH: “Please gimme the numbers.”

PB: “It’s not even worth working the numbers. It would be a real gamble and it wouldn’t pay off, I guarantee it.”

LH: “Read them out anyway, these tyres still feel good.”

PB: “The gap has come down now to 11s so he’d catch and pass us on track.”

LH: “Then you gotta box me guys. Fresh tyres.”

PB: “Push, push then Lewis.”

I would argue that Lewis saw it exactly the way I was reading the situation as it unfolded. I felt like the team left Lewis out too long but then I’m not in the garage with all the data so my concerns were those of an armchair team boss. or race strategist.

After reading Lewis’s final comment, I agree…if the team knew they had to pit, they needed to do that post haste and I would argue they were too late. I’m not sure of what their strategy may have shown as far as how long to leave Lewis out or if his back-and-forth with the team over strategy played heavily in his being out too long but in the end, it was never going to pan out given Nico Rosberg’s pace.

You could argue conspiracy and how the team were setting up Nico for the last three wins but I would argue that the very opposite could have been true in setting Lewis up for the title.

What might be more of an arguing point is that fans were very critical of Red Bull when they felt race outcomes and the title was being manipulated by a far superior car in a team that were making the most of their domination. It seems Mercedes could be accused of doing something similar but those are mere accusations that are being made and one could argue they are being made by fans who aren’t Mercedes fans.

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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jcn115

Lewis is a piece of work. The man cannot take responsibility when he screws up, over at SkyF1 he was saying that he was confused by the strategy Mercedes put him in, even though Toto Wolf said that they let Lewis do the strategy because of course “he knows better” than the engineers and because of the flack Mercedes took from the press (mostly UK) from what happened in Mexico.

jakobusvdl

On the Sky coverage I saw Hamilton was saying the team dictated the strategy, because they didn’t give him the opportunity to run an alternative strategy early enough……..

OpteronX

I found it odd they did not give him the super softs for that last stint. Keepong him out that long and then not using them seems mad. OK they were used, but could easy last the remaining laps. Track temp was dropping, car lighter as less fuel, he could have been a lot closer.

Junipero Mariano

I remember the NBC crew saying something like Lewis needing a half second per lap where instead Lewis was losing 1.5. It was never going to add up. Conspiracy theories are always exasperating. As this point I’d have rather heard the trump card of “Lewis won the championship already, who cares?” Nico just out drove Lewis. It can happen sometimes. Something that piqued my interest was that Hamilton and Vettel made their last stops at right about the same time, Hamilton on Softs, Vettel on Supers with 15 laps to go, even though it was stated Supers could only go… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

When it comes to conspiracy theories, remember the “Internet Rule” also known as “Godwin’s Law”.

MIE

Vettel’s poor qualifying left him with a new set of super soft, Hamilton’s option tyres were all used and so wouldn’t be as fast or last as long.

MIE

Hamilton wasn’t allowed to turn his engine up though, whether this was because he was marginal on fuel or because it would put Rosberg’s higher mileage unit under too much stress isn’t clear (although they did ask Nico to turn his engine up until Lewis complied). The team instruction was to maintain a 1-2 finish rather than risk one of the cars not completing the race.

Andreas Möller

That’s Mercedes’ prime objective, and they’re doing a great job at it. Sadly, I say, because it leaves a slightly bad taste in my mouth. I’m no Lewis fan, so please don’t take this as a “Lewis wasn’t allowed to win” whinge, But I am a fan of racing, and when you have engineers telling a driver to turn down his engine, or they will give his rival in front more juice, that starts to become something other than racing. Viewing F1 as a team strategy game, Mercedes are doing exactly the right thing – orchestrating a 1-2 finish is… Read more »

jakobusvdl

It’s not just the run to the first corner, In all these races they let the car that is fastest in qualifying start from the front. It’s almost like the whole thing is set up for the fastest car and driver to win, and its been happening for years!

Andreas Möller

I know – it’s terrible, isn’t it? ;-)

jakobusvdl

Shocking, just shocking……….

jakobusvdl

‘Lewis Hamilton,
Lewis Hamilton,
Nico’s stoppin’ you’
;-)

Paul KieferJr

Is it also possible that Hamilton is learning how to determine the correct strategy? Part of the learning process is to ask questions and discuss the hows and whys of the answer with the instructor/teacher to learn why the answer is what it is and thus gain a better understanding. The Merc pit crew knew the right answer. It could be that Hamilton was asking questions to gain a better understanding of why it was that answer before he could conclude that it was the right answer. This could have been a learning process for him.

jakobusvdl

I’d imagine that the teams have exhaustive sessions on race strategy, before and after races. Hamilton and all the other experienced F1 drivers must have a pretty solid understanding of how the teams go about maximising the performance of the car through a race, and a race weekend by now. The questioning and challenging we have been hearing from Hamilton is probably okay, if it gets the strategy team to check their decisions, and review the options, but I’d be surprised if Hamilton is just learning about strategies now. Some of the things I do wonder about; Is the car… Read more »

Mike S

I think the drama is entertaining. Why would Nico suddenly ‘up his game’ at the end of the season? Is it because its his own psyc-out when he is under pressure during the title chase? Why did Lewis struggle? Is it because he needs the drama and pressure going into 2017 and after winning his title, that fraction and margin of hunger softened for a moment? ? How much of this is unconscious for them both? Outside of this analysis, what of mechanical? Remember when (was it Ferrari & Kimi ?) a driver just didn’t feel ‘right’ in the car… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Hi Todd, I hope you don’t mind me posting links to other websites, but the strategy review is always good reading. It provides some insights into how the race played out, not just between Rosberg and Hamilton, but right through the field. It looks like if you weren’t trying to make up for a poor qualifying, 10 laps SS, 20 to 23 laps on the Softs, and another set of Softs to finish was the quickest way to run the race.
http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2015/12/analysis-could-hamilton-have-won-f1-abu-dhabi-gp-with-a-different-tyre-decision/