Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2015

Hamilton banishes memories of Monaco with home race-winning pit call

2015 British Grand Prix reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

It all came right on lap number 43 for car number 44.

By his own admission, Lewis Hamilton hasn’t always made the right calls on whether to pit in those critical occasions when the rain is falling and the temptation to abandon slick tyres and grab a set of intermediates is great. The memory of his race-losing pit stop in Monaco – which Hamilton played an active role in triggering – is still fresh.

But with the Silverstone skies darkening and his championship rival slashing up to two seconds per lap out of his lead, Hamilton’s judgement that now was the time to head for the pits wasn’t just sound, it was inspired. His reward was a third home grand prix win.

Williams stun Mercedes

Start, Silverstone, 2015Well before the rain arrived, the British Grand Prix had already served up some of the choicest moments of action so far this season. It began with the Williams pair making an inspired start from the second row of the grid which briefly put both of the Mercedes behind them.

“With this medium tyres I always start very well,” Felipe Massa explained afterwards. “When I just released the clutch I saw the Mercedes having a little bit of wheelspin, I just control my foot not to go to the wheelspin, and the car just started to move, and I just passed them in a fantastic way.”

Massa shot from third on the grid into the lead and Valtteri Bottas almost followed him. But despite having nosed ahead of Hamilton, Bottas was perhaps a little too reluctant to edge the Mercedes wide at Village corner. The championship contender was always likely to back down in that scenario, but by leaving the door open at The Loop Bottas allowed Hamilton to reclaim second place.

It didn’t last long, however. Behind them five cars had collided and the Safety Car was despatched so the wreckage, including both the Lotuses, could be cleared away. Come the restart, Hamilton was all over the back of Massa, who hadn’t led the field at a restart for several years – and it showed.

Massa obliged Hamilton to take the outside line at Club but the Mercedes driver snagged a brake and cut across the corner. Bottas pounced and was through into second place while Hamilton busied himself keeping Rosberg in his mirrors.

Having briefly pulled the precious second clear of his team mate, Massa suddenly had Bottas back within DRS range as the drivers started lap seven. Bottas was pressing his team mate hard, and from the flurry of radio messages which followed it was clear he was initially told not to try to pass Massa, then the decision was reversed. By then, however, Bottas felt he’d passed up his best chance to get ahead. He stayed within range of his team mate until the end of the first stint, however, leaving Williams to wonder if they could have left the Mercedes further behind at this stage.

Hamilton jumps into the lead

The inevitable pit stops were always going to present the best chance for Mercedes to flex their muscles and leap ahead of the two Williams drivers. Even so, at one point they sent their crew into the pit lane apparently hoping to dupe Williams into making an early pit stop.

On lap 19 Hamilton appeared on the pits, shortly after notifying the team he’d got closer to the cars ahead than at any point so far. A quick turnaround had him on his way, and by pitting first Hamilton was always going to have a strong chance to pass at least one of the two cars ahead of him.

In fact he got them both. Massa and Rosberg appeared in the pits together the next time by, and the Williams driver lost a second while debris was removed from his rear wing. He left the pits side-by-side with Rosberg, and though clung to that advantage he was powerless to stop Hamilton getting ahead. Bottas had to wait another lap for his service, but his stop was quick enough for him to emerge between his team mate and Rosberg, though he had to fight to keep the Mercedes back.

This was the worst possible outcome for Rosberg. At no stage in the opening stint had Hamilton come close to passing Bottas – the Williams, powered by the same Mercedes engine, has excellent straight line speed, and to begin with Bottas had the advantage of DRS again, although on this set of tyres he soon dropped back from Massa. Nonetheless as long as it stayed dry Rosberg’s hopes of passing Bottas seemed remote.

His team alerted him that they were switching to ‘Plan B’, which likely meant an extra pit stop at the end of the race to try to attack the Williams cars with fresher tyres. But it never came to that, because it didn’t stay dry.

The drivers were received their first warnings of incoming rain when Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Toro Rosso broke down, leaving him stranded at Club, and causing Formula One’s first proper Virtual Safety Car period. The interruption took far less time than deploying the real Safety Car, lasting for only a lap and a half, and the gaps between the cars were preserved. In many respects this was a significant improvement on the real Safety Car, as it has also proved in sports car racing where the concept originated.

Raikkonen gambles and stumbles

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2015Kimi Raikkonen reported the first drops of rain on lap 35, but it took a long time for the precipitation to build. By lap 38 the surface had become treacherous, especially at the northern end of the track where: Vettel got crossed up at Luffield, Rosberg took to the run-off at Woodcote and Hamilton did the same at Copse.

Having been passed by team mate Vettel at Stowe, Raikkonen decided not to postpone his switch to intermediates any longer. “When it rains it’s the driver who has the final call to the pits,” said team principal Maurizio Arrivabene. “In the case of Kimi, whose strategy was identical to Seb’s, he thought it better to come in.”

But Raikkonen had been too hasty, and the decision undid a solid weekend’s work in which he had started ahead of his team mate. “If it had rained harder, maybe he could have won the race,” Arrivabene reflected. Instead the track began to dry, so much so that even by the time the rain returned, Raikkonen’s tyres were shot. He compounded another bad day at the office with a spin on the pit straight.

He wasn’t the only driver in trouble with his tyres. Hamilton was struggling as well: his front tyres had lost their heat and he warned his team he had “no grip” left.

Meanwhile Rosberg was flying in the other Mercedes. As usual the two Williams cars seemed to be allergic to rain, and he out-dragged Bottas from Copse to take third, then easily out-braked Massa for second at Village. He then set about slashing Hamilton’s lead, reeling him in by almost seven seconds in four laps.

But as the second W06 grew larger in his mirrors, Hamilton had one eye on the sky. “I can see the clouds over Stowe,” he told the team, “there’s more stuff coming.” At the end of lap 43 he called out “box this lap, box this lap” and dived into the pits. Rosberg, who was arriving at Club as Hamilton braked for the pit lane speed limit, thought he was going to grab another win.

This was no Monaco-style slip-up, however: this was a gutsy and almost prescient call by a driver with a lot to lose. He was followed in later that lap by Vettel, who also cashed in by calling the conditions perfectly. Hamilton put a lock on his fifth win of the year, Vettel clinched the final podium place having fallen as low as tenth at one stage.

Kvyat catches Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Silverstone, 2015Having started the race looking like a potential winner, Bottas was having huge problems on his intermediate tyres at the end of the race. Losing in the region of three to four seconds to the leaders, he was being caught at a similar rate by Daniil Kvyat, and the pair crossed the finishing line separated by little more than half a second.

“We saw again that we really struggle with the wet conditions,” said Bottas afterwards. “That’s one thing we need to still focus because there is going to be rain at some point so we need to be also strong then.”

Nico Hulkenberg was the last driver home on the lead lap having made a spectacular start. “Sensational”, he described it as afterwards, “maybe the best I ever had in Formula One”. It got him ahead of Kvyat and both the Ferraris, but predictably all three were able to jump back ahead via the pit stops. Hulkenberg came in seventh after Raikkonen handed back one of those places. The Ferrari driver finished eighth – another uncomfortable result for him given his contract situation.

Sergio Perez ensured Force India lost no ground to Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, while Fernando Alonso finally scored his first points since returning to McLaren.

It was a fairly hollow triumph for Alonso, however, particularly as he’d been involved – albeit blamelessly – in the lap one collision which put team mate Jenson Button out. Alonso laid the blame at the feet of the two Lotus drivers, who also retired, after Romain Grosjean swerved to avoid contact with Daniel Ricciardo. The stewards decided not to blame anyone.

“Hope we have more races like this”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2015With fans surveys demanding change and more questionable Strategy Group pronouncements dominating the build-up to the race, a hectic British Grand Prix was a welcome relief from negative headlines caused by a dearth of positive stories.

Formula One exists in a state of perpetual crisis and invariably seems to be one good race away from salvation. On this occasion, the race winner and championship leader reflected, “I think the English weather helped”.

So is there still a need for real change in F1? Hamilton suspects there probably is – but sounded a wise note of caution for the more enthusiastic nay-sayers. “I think there’s still some things… their views are probably still valid in many ways but also sometimes I guess it’s a bit of an indication for us not to throw our toys out of the pram and say everything’s wrong – that we’re not too far off the mark, hopefully, and hope that we have more races like this.”

64 comments on “Hamilton banishes memories of Monaco with home race-winning pit call”

  1. I am eager to see the race team radio transmissions to see if it was Hamilton’s call or the team’s call because Niki Lauda said just after the race it was the team.
    And why nobody mentioned Vettel for having the same call,
    Hamilton was first and remained first.
    Vettel was sixth and got third position
    Hamilton was unable to overtake Williams without the pitstop
    Hamilton is god driver but the British media makes me feel sick

    1. *good driver

      1. I am eager to see the race team radio transmissions to see if it was Hamilton’s call or the team’s call.

        As pointed out earlier, it was Hamilton’s:

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/07/05/pit-decision-was-perfect-hamilton/

        1. @keithcollantine: Please refer to the following links to see my point:
          http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/05/24/why-mercedes-gave-hamilton-that-fateful-pit-stop-and-why-it-cost-him-victory/
          http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/06/05/hamiltons-role-in-monaco-strategy-revealed-in-new-audio/
          At first almost all people blamed Merc for that error but after radio transmissions were revealed, Hamilton appeared to be part of it :)

          1. @malik I don’t see how that changes the fact that Hamilton called for this pit stop, as you can see from the radio messages in this article.

      2. @malik
        *god driver is more like it!
        :D

        1. +1000

    2. Matt (@superf1fan)
      6th July 2015, 0:51

      I completely agree with your comment about the British Media, I listened to the race on the radio and James Allen’s commentary was (unsurprisingly) some of the most sycophantic, over the top schmaltz I’ve ever heard.

    3. When ever you want a serious conversation about what has happened with Mercedes during the race you don’t ask Niki, he often seems quite confused about what really happened, however when Niki said after the race I think he though they were asking about the 1st pit stop as he was talking about an undercut, Seeing as Lewis was leading at the time of the pit for inter’s he wouldn’t of been trying to undercut himself. I think Mercedes have cleared up it was Lewis’s call on a number of occasions.

      Hamilton was first and remained first.

      This bit is true, however if he hadn’t of made that call at that time is was quite possible he wouldn’t of been first and wouldn’t of won the race. That’s why the call was a good one.

      Hamilton is good driver but the British media makes me feel sick

      The British media getting behind a British champion at the British GP is hardly surprising but it’s not simply British media going over the top with Hamilton’s decision about pitting. Look at the world news, even the German press are saying pretty much exactly the same as the British. I’m not sure who made the decision to pit seb, whether it was the team or Seb himself, we should find that out with the radio transcript however even the German press don’t mention Seb all that much and they don’t say anything about a pit call so again it’s not simply a British media thing.

      1. What this guy said. Also, the guy said “Hamilton was unable to overtake Williams without the pit stop.” Maybe he didn’t notice Rosberg had the same problem the entire race until the clouds started to spit…only then could Nico get by Bottas. That should tell you something.

        1. @medman: so you think that Rosberg and Hamilton are of the same caliber?

          1. I think whoever was driving the Merc that day would have had trouble getting by the Williams at the start of that race in the dry….and Nico is very good, just not quite to the level of Lewis. I think Lewis settled into a pace when he saw overtaking was unlikely and was determined to get ahead with strategy in the pits.

      2. @woodyd91: Lets wait for radio transmissions, though I remember after Monaco the British media was blaming Mercedes for the pitstop call and after that it turned out to be Hamilton’s decision.
        The other annying thing about the British media is that they tend to attribute any success to British elements. During the period 2010-2013 they were talking about Adrian Newey. I remember after this year Malaysia GP they started talking about James Allison, James Allison, James Allison, James Allison… and they keep talking about LH as if he designed the car and built the engine. F1 fans are not stupid to try to enforce this into their minds.

        1. British media was blaming Mercedes

          Actually this isn’t strictly true, they were also trying to put the some of the blame on Lewis as well, a few newspapers tried to put all the blame on him. Yes there are elements of the British media who don’t like Hamilton, sometimes all of them have pilled into him, sometimes deserved and others not. The British media will back you one week and slam you the next. But that’s the tabloids, they sell their sole to the highest bidder all the time.

          turned out to be Hamilton’s decision

          Again this isn’t strictly true either. Hamilton certainly had a role to play in the decision by the mis information and the the mis communication that lead him to believe that both Nico & Vettel had pitted for fresh tyres while his were ice cold which for anybody would be a reasonable concern. If Hamilton had of known that neither had pitted he wouldn’t of felt the need to question the team. It certainly didn’t all turn out to be Hamilton’s decision as you say, The team openly admit their mistake in timing and losing their cool during that time, something that Toto referenced to after the race on Sunday, how the team stayed cool and calm while the race went through the rain stage. Lewis certainly had some flack to take and admitted after that it was joint decision, but to lay the decision soley at Hamilton’s feet would be clearly wrong and the team apologised on multiple occasions for their rather massive part in the error.

          During the period 2010-2013 they were talking about Adrian Newey

          Well this would kind of to be expected as Adrian Newey was the main silver bullet in the chamber during that period. Did he do it alone? Nope of course not but he was certainly the driving factor behind much of the potential for success of the Red Bull during the time. This is why Ferrari spend so much time and energy in trying to bring him to the team, not to mention the amount of money they were rumoured to have offered him.

          Malaysia GP they started talking about James Allison, James Allison, James Allison, James Allison

          Ferrari won the race by being very kind on it’s tyres while others weren’t, this is one of the things that James Allison has been very good at doing, highlighted in his Lotus days. So his input was particularly important in that GP win, but again it’s not only the British media that have talked about Allison, the world media covered him as well.

          keep talking about LH as if he designed the car and built the engine

          Hmm well I can only talk for my experience with Sky as I don’t really watch the BBC for much other than some recaps every now and again, However I have to say I’m not sure what you are talking about here. Sky certainly haven’t implied that and even more so on the engine who they have constantly praised Mercedes for, not Hamilton. They have of course praised Hamilton, who has rightly deserved that praise but they have also praised Rosberg, who even though has multiple nationalities, British isn’t one of them.

          F1 fans are not stupid to try to enforce this into their minds.

          Well of course not all F1 fans are, but if you ever take a look at twitter during any GP you will certainly change your mind on that, there are some very “stupid” f1 fans out there.

          I’m not sure what the British seem to have done to you, or if you’re British yourself I don’t know, you really can’t judge by a name but you do seem to have a downer on British or rather the British media. However the Motorsport industry as a whole is a massive success story in Britain, In F1 for example only 3 of the 10 teams aren’t based in England, the dominant Mercedes engine was largely developed in England along with it’s highly successful chassis, F1 is a success story for Britain and it’s economy so why the British media wouldn’t highlight that fact is beyond me. It’s not a British media creation that some of the most successful F1 cars of all time were design by British people, of course there are many people of many nationalities that have played key roles in F1 and who have built championship winning cars or run championship winning teams, it’s by no means a British sport but I see no reason why the media shouldn’t highlight the British successes in the sport, just as the Italian press do with Ferrari for example.

      3. Q: Sebastian, it’s fair to say it wasn’t looking too rosy up until the point at which it rained. You did the same timing as Lewis. Did you feel the same way as Lewis? Was it something that you motivated yourself? Were you slightly surprised by what was going on around you with the other cars? Did you think it was your birthday when you realised where you were?
        SV: I don’t know. I had a bad start but then we obviously, more or less, came back to fifth and sixth – so where we started – but obviously the gap was too big to the cars in front. Then there was some rain around six-seven – so around Luffield. And, yeah, it was only there so it was quicker to stay out on dries. But then I noted… it’s a tough call to make. If it rains, yes, some cars are already pitting, you obviously think about it but if the majority of the circuit is dry, there’s no point. Then I came out of Chapel and down the Hangar straight, noticed a lot more rain. I was trying to look at the clouds, all the laps before and though, ‘well, that’s the lap to go’. Because it was significantly more intense, the rain. It wasn’t just drizzle, it was proper rain and I decided to box. Once I was in the box I was told that Lewis decided to – the leader – decided to pit as well so I thought, yeah, should have been a good call. And then it was a surprise because I had Kvyat behind me when I boxed, and I came out behind him – like I saw him when I came out of the box. I don’t know what happened to him in between. But I guess at that point already the track was quite poor.

        Arrivabene: “It’s the driver who makes the final call on pit stops when it rains”.

        It was Vettel who made the “magic call”.

    4. @malik In Niki Lauda’s interview it seems he was confused and thought they were talking about the first pit stops, as he was talking about the undercut and that being the engineer’s decision. To clear things up, the decision to pit for inters (at the second stops) was Hamilton’s decision – as Toto Wolff later confirmed in a separate interview (on a similar note, Arrivabene confirmed that Raikkonen’s early pit stop for inters was also his own decision, rather than the team’s). To provide further evidence that the decision to pit was Hamilton’s call, here’s a quote from the man himself following the race: “I think it’s the first time I made the perfectly right choice to say I was coming in, because I could see the rain coming more. I’ve never had that before and I feel really happy about that.”

      As for your comment about Hamilton being unable to overtake the Williams – to be fair, many were struggling to overtake in the dry as Silverstone is a high speed track where dirty air punishes the following car rather heavily. Rosberg was unable to pass the Williams as well in the dry. He got past rather easily once the track was wet, but the Williams were very off-pace in the wet (Bottas eventually finished over a minute down on Hamilton). While this was an absolutely fantastic race (arguably the best race all season, and perhaps the best since Hungary 2014, which was about a year ago now), it was still evident that there are severe problems with following the car ahead this year, particularly among front-running cars with very advanced front wings (Mercedes/Ferrari/etc.). The greatest impact of this dirty air seems to come in the form of understeer in high-speed corners (due to the significant loss in front wing performance), and making the car much less stable when getting on the power (due to the lower downforce), which often means that the pursuing car will be getting on the power considerably later than the car ahead can.

      Having had the privilege to watch this Grand Prix from the grandstands (at Village B, by the loop section) I could visibly see that the pursuing Mercs were losing downforce in the dirty air, which made them struggle to get on the power early out of corners and as a result were never close enough to attempt an overtake on any of the following straights (the same problem we saw with Kimi behind Bottas at Spain, Vettel behind Bottas at Bahrain, Hamilton behind Vettel at Spain and Monaco, etc.). This is despite the Mercedes having a clear pace advantage in clean air (as we saw after Hamilton took the lead). In the post-race interviews with Sky, Lewis was saying that it was really difficult to follow closely and he was suffering from problems such as understeer in high-speed corners behind the Williams, but as soon as he was in clean air he said it was like a different car, and it was much, much better to drive after that.

      That said, I agree that Vettel’s call to pit was equally inspired. But I wouldn’t agree that “nobody mentioned” him, I have seen many commending him for his drive and pit decision as well. However, of course the spotlight is going to be on Lewis here, (a) because there is always more focus on the battle for the win, and (b) because this is his home race.

      1. @polo: Thanks for the valuable information :)
        I will be attending the Hungarian GP, so hopefully I can give some information back but lets hope for an interesting race there :D

      2. I could visibly see

        You’ve been listening to too much David Coulthard. :P

    5. Wow, looks like is very important for you to discredit Lewis’ call… lol

      1. @becken-lima: Not at all, LH got pole position with an average car, got a clean start and after the safety car overtook Massa and Bottas in a brilliant move, and when the rain started he was faster than his team mate by 1.5 seconds each lap. LH is the greatest driver of all time. I barely have seen any driver or team doing anything yesterday in the British GP with the exception of LH :)

        1. +1 I do love a bit of sarcasm in the morning :)

        2. @malik Your comments discredit your opinion as they don’t make complete sense. You just come across as bitter and biased.

    6. To be fair on British media, A British driver has won the British GP with the team based out of Britain. They do have reason to celebrate and ecstatic about. I know there is always tendency to soup up things a little bit. But hey…. we are sports fans and when our favorite team , sportsperson or national team win we have reasons to celebrate. This is just one of them.

      BTW we are commenting on a site which is co.uk and it thought it was a well balanced article not making a superhuman out of the Pit Stop call.

      1. @tmax

        we are commenting on a site which is co.uk

        Which means nothing other than the .com suffix wasn’t available when I registered the domain ten years ago (and still isn’t).

        1. @keithcollantine Thanks for the clarification. People many times take the nationality based domain either because of their interest or because of the fact that it is getting registered in that nation. Again I was not aware of the fat that .com domain was not available when you registered. Based on the domain name the first impression is always that it is a UK based website.

          Again I did not reflect it in any negative way. I was trying to highlight the fact that even though you are a UK based website, at least here there was no bias as the original post from @malik suggested.

        2. It must be annoying having to continually repeat this @keithcollantine.

    7. Your comment is very strange mate. Give the man some credit, people say Lewis is arrogant and bla bla bla but his honesty is striking, after 8 seasons he’s open enough to say on the podium that it was his FISRT perfect call… that’s noteworthy.

      1. @jcost: It seems that many readers misinterpreted what I was trying to say or I wasn’t able to make my point clear.
        What annoyed me is that media trying to make it one man show. I think that LH is a great driver and this point doesn’t need such emphasis.

    8. I hope you’ll be man enough to admit your mistake after the radio transcript.

      Even without reading it, I can at least say that you misunderstood Lauda response. He said “it was the engineer decision to undercut”. Now, How can you undercut when you’re leading? This lead me to believe that he was talking about the first stop, and not the second.

  2. I found this race to be the most interesting race in the championship so far.
    That isn’t saying much though.
    We didn’t see nearly enough action, we got yet another Mercedes one-two, there were too few cars on the track from very early into the race, and Williams were a huge let down.
    Huge let down.
    I rate this race at a solid 5/10, but it could have easily been a 7/10 if Williams had done a better job of handling their drivers. But they’ll never learn their lesson, I don’t think. It’s been like this of decades for Williams, it’s such BS.

    1. A race where Mercedes needs to work for it will always be an interesting one.
      But today the rain killed it, completely.

      Rosberg was struggling with the both Williams and an interesting duel between Vettel and Kvyat was starting to take shape. It was all lost due to the rain.

      1. It’s somewhat ironic that in most races this season we would have loved some rain to spice up the races which Mercedes were dominating. Then we finally get a race where Mercedes are on the back foot and the rain arrives to scupper the competition!

    2. IMHO, Williams did the right thing. Massa was third on the grid on merit and if Bottas thinks he’s faster he has to make a move, I just don’t like to hear drivers demanding team orders over the radio. Following cars was tough but Seb managed to get past Kimi before the rain so let’s spare Williams from such criticism.

      Williams problem yesterday was their lack of grip on wet surface.

      1. @jcost I think Williams made mistakes, but not the ones they seem to be accused of. Whilst Bottas may well have been slightly quicker early on, it was Massa who led the race and therefore Williams should have prioritised the team effort to try and get Massa to win. Rather than letting Bottas race Massa, which clearly slowed them both down, Bottas should have been slowly dropping back from Massa whilst defending from Hamilton to allow Massa to build a cushion. Williams could then have considered the undercut by bringing in Massa early instead of reacting to Mercedes. When Hamilton inevitably followed in next lap around Bottas would have also come in, hopefully held position, and allowed Williams to retain the 1-2 after the stops.

        There are times when a driver like Bottas has to be told that the team comes first. This could have been Williams one chance all season and they had blown it before the rain even arrived.

        As it turns out the rain coming would have undone all of that work anyway, but I was disappointed Williams didn’t commit to a single race-winning strategy for their race leading driver.

        1. +1 @jerseyf1 in light of your comment, a good question for Bottas would be:

          Valtteri, if you were thinking about the best result for the team, why didn’t you protect Massa’s lead by slowing down Lewis and Nico?

  3. I’m left guessing about why we don’t have more Silverstones in the calendar. This track nails it, ever since it’s renovation in 2010, races have been awesome.

    It works like Spa, Interlagos or Canada (except this year). It delivers.

    1. Spa last year was exciting for all the wrong reasons but generally it’s a great track and often results in greats races, Brazil can produce some great racing but the weather often plays a good role in that, although last years race wasn’t all that exciting iirc thanks to the sunshine and resurfaced track, Maybe Interlagos needs rain for the track to truly come alive.

  4. Williams always fears that their cars would run out of tyres before the end of the race. But, come on, this is a race win, just one lap earlier is not that risky, who knows maybe there would be a safety car.
    This was not the first time and has already cost them podiums and points.

  5. A-class report, much better than SkyF1’s.

  6. Here’s a thought. You’re Lewis Hamilton in the first stint of the British Grand Prix. Do you bother trying to pass the Williams drivers?

    Hamilton knew the following: His performance advantage gave him a strong chance of passing at least one Williams in the pits. As they were running so close together, he could potentially get them both. He also knew he would have pit stop priority over Rosberg, and that Mercedes would most likely try to ‘undercut’ Williams. Given that Williams were likely to react to any Mercedes pit stop, the chances were strong that Rosberg would come in on the same lap as one Williams and therefore probably still end up stuck behind it.

    Had Hamilton overtaken Bottas, he would have gained a position, but he would also have moved Rosberg closer to the Williams cars, improving his chances of jumping ahead of them in the pits.

    In the championship context, this could have been significant. If Hamilton had been able to win the race with just either or both of the Williams cars between him and Rosberg, it would have been valuable extra points in a year where the silver cars have finished on the podium in every race.

    Yes, Hamilton might have passed both the Williams cars and left them and Rosberg behind. But with Rosberg packing the same performance advantage, he would have had the same theoretical chance of getting ahead.

    During the first stint, it might have made more sense for Hamilton to hold back and wait for the pit stops, as any move he made on the track would have helped his team mate as well as helping himself. This is partly borne out by what happened – before the rain arrived the order was Hamilton-Massa-Bottas-Rosberg.

    I think you can make a pretty strong case that, regardless of whether Hamilton was able to pass Bottas and Massa in the first stint, he had a stronger incentive not to. What do you think?

    1. This was exactly what I was thinking during the first stint, It never really looked like Hamilton was trying all that hard to get passed, and lets face it if Bottas could climb onto the gearbox of Massa in his Williams then Hamilton could of done the same with the Merc with greater ease if he had been really pushing. Lewis made one risky move that resulted in him losing a place to Bottas after the restart and I just think Lewis, with all the expectations on him this weekend was playing it safe knowing how powerful the undercut could be with the pace of the Merc on the hard tyres.

      With the straight line speed of the Williams, even with DRS the Mercs would need some special engine mode help to get passed because of the nature of the straights in Silverstone, so that leaves making a risky move in one of the few slow speed corners as the high speed corners are out of the question, especially this year. So why risk making a move when contact could easily happen unless you really had to? at that point in the race he didn’t have to risk that so.

      It’s either that or the Merc is so sensitive to dirty airflow that he couldn’t even make it to the back of Massa or Bottas’s gearbox, although that seems very unlikely and the onboards weren’t showing the front end washing out like it was in dirty air of Vettel in Spain.

    2. I don’t think it mattered that he wanted or not as he just could not do it. Bottas could not overtake Massa so I doubt Hamilton could overtake a Williams with DRS in Bottas.

      When the rain came down Rosberg also didn’t really make quick work of the Williams drivers, his quite desperate move on Massa, basically forcing him out wide by braking way to late tells a story in itself. Williams had the straights covered and except for a well timed move into for example copse I don’t know where they would have even tried.

      Apart from that, as you said, Hamilton knew the advantage he had and should not have worried. The win was his after the start, even if his pitstop only worked to get Bottas he would’ve eventually found a way past Massa in the rain or forced his way through. Rosberg on the other hand had a fourth at best without rain I think.

    3. @ keithcollantine Agree entirely. I think that’s what he was trying to do with that post-safety car move on Massa. If that had worked, then he would have had the two car buffer he wanted, and we saw how neither of them managed to overtake one of the Williams, let alone both. As it was the rain deprived him of a better result than just a win, rescued only by a seemingly prescient eye on the weather.

    4. Thinking about it, that does make perfect sense @keithcollantine.

      On the other hand, we did see it took Rosberg until the track got slippery to get bast the Williams, so maybe the Mercs just lose a bit too much DF when running behind and the Williams are just that bit faster on the straights to make it very hard to pass.

  7. What happened between Lewis and the pit wall in Monaco and Silversone are quite different @keithcollantine – so i do not now why we are linking it.

    In Monaco, he was NOT given the option of choosing when he should come in. He was whining and moaning based on what he thought the others drivers were doing; AND this put the pit wall under pressure to make a decision that ultimately disadvantaged him. This is obvious from the all the radio transmissions.

    However, in Silverstone, this is not what happened. The team squarely put the choice and responsibility of making the pit call on his shoulders. And he made the right call.

    1. @kbdavies This is just splitting hairs: He made the call at Silverstone and he contributed to the call in Monaco. The similarity is obvious and the grounds for comparison entirely sound.

      1. Pointing out specific facts is not splitting hairs, Keith. How can “making a call” and “contributing to a call” be the same thing? There are indeed similarities (a pit call that affected an outcome), but that is where it ends.

        1. Its quite simple @kbdavies, @lockup. No, the calls are not equal, but that is not the point. The point is, that Hamilton himself is very aware that he helped throw a certain victory away in Monaco and now he can feel good for doing the opposite of deciding about a stop that made it a clear win today.

          1. lockup (@)
            7th July 2015, 9:17

            I thought it was simple too @bascb! :) Maybe it’s talking about ‘the call’ that’s the problem.

            If we talk about the mistake it’s clearer perhaps: the mistake in Monaco was not about the tyres, the mistake was about the timing. Nothing to do with the driver, that’s why the team apologised.

            In Silverstone, well who can unravel the judgment about the rain from the need to do something about his dead front tyres. Not even Lewis, I’d say.

      2. Like @kbdavies I don’t agree there’s any linkage between the calls in Monaco and Silverstone @keithcollantine.

        The call in Monaco was not about the tyres – everybody knew that fresh options would be faster than worn primes after the restart. Lewis flagged it but it wasn’t news. The call was about the time available, and everybody knew it wasn’t worth sacrificing track position irrespective of the state of the tyres.

        It was entirely an arithmetic call, for the engineers with the VSC, SC and position data to make, and they made a mistake with the arithmetic.

        In Silverstone it was all about the state of he track and a call for the driver to make with his feel, informed by the team’s weather information, with no arithmetic involved.

        Not the same at all.

        1. Well, Hamilton said it himself in Monaco @lockup, @kbdavies “you win and lose as a team” – so in that sense, team LH did right in this race where they failed in Monaco ;) I have to agree with @keithcollantine then.

          1. Yes in the sense of winning and losing as a team, @bosyber, they won and lost as a team, each time. With the team’s car :)

            But in the sense of what did everybody actually do, to bring about the end result, they were completely different.

            “He contributed to the call in Monaco” is completely misleading, because what mattered was the timing which was not his call. His call about the tyres (which was not news anyway) may have flustered the team, but the team are not supposed to get flustered they’re supposed to do the math. Correctly. That’s why they apologised.

    2. he lucked in this time kbdavies, he pitted not speciofically because of the rain but because he was losing time, and then was lucky it started to rain just as he was pitting in other areas of the track.

      1. HOW do you know he pitted because he was losing time? Do you really think Rosberg is 2secs faster than Hamilton under ANY conditions, and on ANY track? Have you ever witnessed Rosberg take chunks out of Lewis’s lead AND pass him on track?? Of course, he was losing time because he was trying to conserve his tires till the end – and that caused a drop in temperature.
        Rosberg however, was on a “PlanB” – going till the end, so was pusing much harder.

        Toto said he called in right because of the rain. Lewis said he called it right because of the rain (saw more drops on his visor).

        Fans at the race said he called it right, as the rain got visibly worse just before he came it. BUT armchair experts claim it was luck. Obviously al those, inc Vettel who came in around the same time ALL got lucky around the same time. Sigh…

    3. @kbdavies They are both about pit calls with a heavy influence from the driver. Done. @keithcollantine

      1. Lol. Nope @xtwl. The driver made the call about the tyres; which was the point in Silverstone but not the point in Monaco.

        1. @lockup So Monaco was not about pitcalls, or with any influence of the driver? I’m lost.

          1. Monaco was about the timing @xtwl. Was there TIME to make the stop. Everybody knew that fresh options would be faster at the restart, Lewis just emphasised what they already knew. And everybody knew that they must NOT lose track position. Never ever. And that was the team’s job, not the driver’s.

            Totally different from Silverstone.

          2. @lockup You’re avoiding my question. Was this then not about a pitcall? And did the actions taken not have any influence from the driver?

            I think you’ll find both times the answer is yes, thus it is pretty much a good link worth comparing the two.

          3. They were both pitcalls by the driver about the tyres @xtwl, as I said, but in Monaco that was not the point. In Monaco the issue was the timing.

            Nobody was gonna stop for tyres if there wasn’t time. Not Lewis and not the team. But somebody made a mistake with their arithmetic. That somebody not being the driver.

            So both pitcalls by the driver were 100% correct, but otherwise they don’t have anything in common, or worth comparing. You can say Lewis’ insistence in Monaco flustered the team, but that doesn’t make it his fault they got flustered and did their sums wrong.

  8. good result for Hamilton, hamilton seemed only to pit because rosberg was so much faster, and because hamilton was slow and wanted new tyres – rather then because of the rain – luck was on his side this time, much like brazil 2008. this will be described as a hard thought win by hamilton, but mistakes at the start and inability to overtake besides pitstop…… it is a shame only a few cars can compete at the front of the field in f1, drivers further down the grid have better races then hamilton/rosberg but will never be winners in this the stupidest era of f1.

  9. jayteeniftb
    6th July 2015, 15:56

    the competition can be attributed to natural “reverse grid” and “sprinklers”. high rating suggets that is exactly what the fans want.

    1. This race absolutely makes the case for sprinklers. And how are they any more artificial than tarmac or a car with no space for the shopping?

      Though it was a pity we didn’t get to see Rosberg having to deal with the Williams in the dry.

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