‘It was probably 50-50’: Mercedes chief Toto Wolff speaks out on Lewis Hamilton’s late strategic decision that cost him in the Miami Grand Prix… after the seven-time world champion questions his team for leaving tyre choice down to him
- Lewis Hamilton opted not to pit during a late Safety Car in the Miami Grand Prix
- Team-mate George Russell did take on new tyres and then overtook Hamilton
- The 37-year-old questioned why his team left the strategic decision down to him
- Mercedes’ Toto Wolff says Hamilton was left ‘between a rock and a hard place’
- The seven-time world champion placed sixth as his frustrating season continued
Toto Wolff has admitted that Lewis Hamilton was left with a ’50-50′ decision to change tyres or not in the Miami Grand Prix.
Mercedes race engineer Peter Bonnington asked the seven-time world champion whether he wished to pit during a late Safety Car, but he opted not to.
Team-mate George Russell did decide to take on new tyres during the period and ended up overtaking Hamilton to eventually finish fifth, while the 37-year-old placed sixth as his frustrating season continued.
Lewis Hamilton opted not to take on new tyres during a late Safety Car in the Miami Grand Prix
Toto Wolff admits that Hamilton was left with a ’50-50′ decision whether to pit or not
‘I think he was between a rock and a hard place because the Safety Car clearly came out in a situation that wasn’t favourable for him and was favourable for George in the back,’ Mercedes chief Wolff said.
‘George had a window with no one behind him. He was able to switch on a practically new medium and Lewis had to decide ‘Do I keep the position on a hard or do I go on a soft?’.
‘That would have also been tricky so that was probably a 50-50 decision and in the end, it didn’t work out for him. It is not the first time this season that he has been unlucky with the Safety Car.’
After the race, Hamilton questioned why his team left the strategic decision down to him
Hamilton was left exasperated after the race and questioned why his team left a crucial strategic decision down to him.
‘In that scenario, I have no clue where everyone is, so when the team say ‘it is your choice’, I don’t have the information to make the decision,’ he said.
‘That’s what your job is. Make the decision for me as you have all the details and I don’t. I rely on the guys for that, but today they gave the decision to me and I didn’t understand it.
George Russell did change his tyres and then overtook Hamilton to finish fifth in the race
‘When you are given that responsibility it feels like gambling and I don’t like that. It was just a bit unfortunate.’
Russell quickly overtook Hamilton after his tyre change but was instructed to give the place back as he had made the move with four wheels off the track.
But the 24-year-old caught Hamilton on the following lap and has now amassed 23 more points more than his team-mate after five races.