Lewis Hamilton is very disappointed that he did not finish on the podium at the Turkish Grand Prix. The British driver says his team made the wrong decision, but that it could always have been worse.
Twenty laps before the end of the race, many drivers dived in at the front of the field for a new set of intermediates. While Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Pérez were riding on new rubber, Hamilton also received the call to come in for a new set of tires. The seven-time world champion refused this and preferred to stay on the track. After all, it is not mandatory to do a pit stop during a rain race. Still, his team decided to err on the side of caution and let Hamilton come in anyway. As a result, Esteban Ocon was the only driver to arrive at the finish without pit stops.
“I heard that Ocon succeeded, so I think we could have done that too,” said Hamilton to Sky Sports F1. “But the tires were bald, so you don’t know how long they’ll last. So you’re definitely worried about the tire life.” The Briton was eventually brought in by his team eight laps before the end, which in hindsight was not a good move. As a result, he fell head over heels in the butter. “I wasn’t that fast at the end and lost a lot to the guys behind me. I had a really hard time and had very little grip. I’m not sure why that was.” It was clear that Hamilton was not happy with his team’s decision. The seven-time world champion announced exactly what he thought on the on-board radio.
“In hindsight, I think I should have stayed on track, or gone in much earlier,” he continues. “Because if you come in with eight laps to go, you don’t have time to deal with the graining tires on the drying track,” explains the Mercedes driver. “So then I got into a phase where I was just slipping and losing almost four positions. It’s frustrating, but it is what it is. It felt good to be in third place and I was like, ‘If If I can hold on to this, this is a great result from 11th on the grid.” Fifth place is worse, but it could always be worse,” said Hamilton.