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Mercedes explains team orders: 'Hamilton understood that'

Mercedes explains team orders: 'Hamilton understood that'

06-07-2021 14:52 Last update: 15:54


For the Austrian Grand Prix different tyres were made available compared to the Styrian Grand Prix. Pirelli took the softest tyres to Austria, hoping that the teams would go for another strategy, the two-stopper. This turned out to not be the right strategy after all, as a one-stop was sufficient.

Teams like Aston Martin did try the two-stop, but this failed. Max Verstappen made a second stop because he was able to do so due to a big lead, to achieve the fastest lap. For Lewis Hamilton there was no other choice.

The one-stop resulted in few surprises at the Red Bull Ring, as eight drivers finished in the points twice in a row. Mercedes had a difficult race compared to the first week. Due to damage, Lewis Hamilton had to make a second pit stop. The problems promoted Valtteri Bottas to first driver and team orders were given. Speaking to Auto, Motor und Sport Mercedes' engineers explained where the order came from.

Hamilton had no chance

"The first question we asked ourselves was: can Hamilton use the tyres to the end? Can Bottas defend the position against Norris? In a DRS train, that is possible. But we also didn't want Valtteri to put pressure on Lewis. We also knew that Lewis had no chance against Norris if Valtteri passed him. That's why we first gained time to find out to what extent Lewis' tyres were degrading."

Mercedes eventually made the decision to have the two drivers swap places. "Lewis understood that. He knew what the situation was with his car. If we hadn't done that, we might have given Norris the second place as a gift," the Mercedes engineers said.

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