Mike Elliott explained the reasons for Hamilton’s poor start, and how Verstappen indirectly conditioned the start of the British driver.
Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott spoke in a video on the team channel explaining why Lewis Hamilton had a very poor start at the Russian GP. The Briton who started the race in 4th position, after the chaotic qualifying session in which Lando Norris prevailed, fell quickly to 7th position at the end of the first lap, a situation that powerfully caught the attention of all of us who appreciate the race. But the main reason for this bad start to the race was due to several reasons, including Verstappen.
The main cause was the starting location of his main rival in the fight to be crowned champion this season, Max Verstappen, who started from the last place on the grid due to various penalties. The start on the semi-urban circuit of Sochi, with one of the longest straights in the world, generates slipstream for the cars that come behind and with a slight hairpin at the end of this straight takes the cars to the limit when braking, being able to generate various touches between the vehicles. And with Max from last place, there was no need to demand a maneuver that could cause a friction that would hurt the Brit, so the most strategic thing was to act conservatively.
This moment…� � pic.twitter.com/xrIhZlCjHa— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 28, 2021
“You have to bear in mind that Lewis knew that his greatest rival in the fight for the World Cup came from the back of the grid. As a consequence, Lewis knew that he had to do the right thing at the start and that was to face it calmly so as not to being involved in an incident in the first corner, ” said Mike Elliott in the official Mercedes media.
Despite how complicated Hamilton’s start was, Mercedes saw it differently. A completely clean and intelligent start, at a time when he was squeezed between the cars coming from behind and stopped by the car leading the race, he had to stay out of any contact with another driver. Mercedes they saw it differently. A completely clean and intelligent start, at a time when he was squeezed between the cars coming from behind and stopped by the car leading the race, he had to stay out of any contact with another driver.
“Lewis started from the dirty area and despite that, he had a good start. The bad thing is that he was blocked by Lando, who had covered the interior for the first stop. Lewis came at high speed thanks to the slipstream, but he did not have to where to go, so he had to make a decision and make sure he wasn’t involved in any incidents, ” Elliott explained.
The development of the competition and the eventual rain that forced the team to act in the best way, gave Hamilton the possibility of taking the race that places him in a great way in the world championship.