Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes needs 'bulletproof' strategy solution

Hope Soto
July 2, 2018

Lewis Hamilton said his problem-strewn Austrian Grand Prix was "the worst race I can remember for a very, very long time".

Hamilton had already been on the back foot before he stopped on lap 64, his vehicle suffering lost fuel pressure while he was in fourth place, after a glaring strategy error by Mercedes had cost him the lead.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen takes a curve ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton will head into his home race at Silverstone on Sunday one point behind Sebastian Vettel after the reigning champion failed to finish following a mechanical failure.

Hamilton started in second, but roared off his marks on the 300-metre charge to the right-handed opening corner to assume the lead from his team-mate Bottas. In the first stint, we could keep up well.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton hopes Mercedes' first major aerodynamics upgrade of the season will "frighten" the team's rivals. However, the race turned out to be a different story. With the team having returned Magnussen's first set of Pirelli tires after the 40-minute mark, as per the regulations, and with no other tires available, Magnussen was sidelined for the remainder of FP1.

Once Verstappen took the lead of the race, he held on for the entire race, even when his tyres were not 100%.

The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas remained atop FP2, with Hamilton's quick time of 1:04.579 bettering Bottas' mark by.176 of a second. "How did we miss that?"

"They mentioned it to me ages ago, but I don't really think about that stuff, I only think about how I can get the auto in the right ballpark so I [can] do what I do".

'We made a mistake.

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Mercedes had come into the weekend armed with a raft of new aerodynamic updates, following on from the introduction of a new specification engine last week at Le Castellet. He left the pits in fourth. "I just think about how can I get the vehicle in the right ballpark so I can do what I do".

Moments later, Hamilton was back on the radio again.

"I don't get it guys. Passing is possible. I'm sorry".

"To feel the improvement on the vehicle and for us be ahead of the Ferraris is obviously quite a privilege to be in that position".

Vowles responded: "Lewis, this is James".

"This is James, I have thrown away the win today", replied Vowles.

Hamilton struggled so much that he was forced to make a second pitstop.

However the drama wasn't done as Hamilton totally lost to power, confirming a double retirement for Mercedes on a disastrous day for the constructor.

Esteban Ocon ended up 11th after his final Q2 lap fell nearly two tenths of a second short of beating Hulkenberg, who improved by enough on his second run to jump ahead of the Force India.

Good news is that Fernando Alonso finished in P8 for McLaren.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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