Mercedes explain decision to leave out Hamilton during Singapore Grand Prix

22-09-2019 16:49
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
Mercedes explain decision to leave out Hamilton during Singapore Grand Prix

After a controversial call that ended up costing Lewis Hamilton two places during the Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has explained why the side opted to leave out the Brit way beyond all of his direct competitors.

Starting in P2, Hamilton did well to keep up with and put pressure on race leader Charles Leclerc right until the pit window. While Hamilton came on the team radio to ask for an undercut, the exact opposite happened. 

Leclerc dove into the pitlane first and came out behind his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who would eventually go on to win the race for the Scuderia. Hamilton was told to stay out much longer and lost two places because of it, emerging from the pitlane behind the RB15 of Max Verstappen.

Despite a late charge, Hamilton wasn't able to overtake the Dutchman for the final place on the podium, as Wolff explains he was surprised by the strength of the undercut.

"Lewis had the risk of being caught up in traffic," the Austrian explains to Sky Sports F1 when quizzed about the call.

"Ferrari did it right, they had nothing to lose and everyone was surprised at how strong the undercut was.

"At that moment we had already lost the position to Sebastian and then we tried to do the opposite and go longer. Lewis said the tyres were in good shape and there were lots of assumptions and the tyres wore off and we weren’t competitive anymore - that’s why we ended up nowhere."

Normally, a Safety Car is music to the ears of chasing cars, but Wolff said the three instances it came was almost too much.

"We almost had too many safety cars, we didn’t really get going, we had a slow start out of the blocks at the start and then slow after the restarts.

"Yes, you have got to be worried and on your toes all the time. Ferrari have won the last few races and you cannot rest on your laurels from the beginning of the season and the points gap because that’s when you get caught out."

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