Mercedes admits her mistake of leaving Hamilton alone

Track engineering director Andrew Shovlin argues that they continued with the intermediate tires to avoid any risk on the shoulder.


It was one of the images of the Hungarian Grand Prix. After Bottas's 'bowling game' and the subsequent red flag, the remaining cars went out for a formation lap before the highlight. At that point, most of the teams saw the track dry out and sent their drivers to switch to 'slicks'. All except Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

After that mistake by the German team, Hamilton went from starting first to finishing on the next lap in last position. Failure to change the intermediate tires cost the British rider victory, who finally finished second. Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes track engineering director, explained the German team's own version of events.

The Englishman admits that the decision was made before the formation lap. "When we left the pit lane, we were talking about whether to use slicks, the lanes were getting dry and that's where we really went wrong," Shovlin said. "The mentality, given the situation at the start of the race and that of our competitors, was not to make a mistake when slipping or getting entangled in an accident," argued the engineering director on the American website

For Shovlin it was risky to enter the 'pits' due to Mercedes' positioning in the pit-lane: "When you are in the first garage, you have the disadvantage that when you enter and make your stop, you have a train of cars following you, all with pits further down the pit lane. "

The team tried to have time to make a good stop without traffic jams, but saw it impossible: "There was no way to build a gap of five seconds in the formation lap, everyone was trying to group up and get in. We believed that in the best of the cases would have been P6 on the road, at worst P10. Still it would have been complicated and risky. "

"It was unfortunate, we had an easy opportunity to win the race that we did not know how to take advantage of. We all agree that we were wrong. No one is blamed for it, we have to learn and try not to make the same mistake twice", the English engineer has concluded.

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