F1

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff says it is ‘always difficult’ for Lewis Hamilton to make decisions in the car

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has responded to Lewis Hamilton’s criticism of team strategy during the Turkish Grand Prix, saying it is “always very difficult” to make decisions in the car.

Hamilton was third when he pitted with eight laps to go, as his team became concerned about tyre degradation and looked to consolidate a top five position. The world champion was aghast at the decision when he was told to come into the pits over team radio, arguing that it was the wrong decision and that he should stay out and try to hold on to third on bad tyres rather than pit and be overtaken.

He finished fifth and in the process lost his position at the top of the drivers’ standings to Max Verstappen.

With hindsight Wolff felt they should have pitted Hamilton earlier in the race, giving him time to wear in his new tyres and fight for a podium position.

“I think in the car it is always very difficult to assess your position in the race,” said Wolff. “We could have either played it very conservatively and pitted him when Verstappen, Perez at the time pitted and then fought it out on track. [We would have] probably come out behind Perez and fight for P4, P3 on track.

“The other thing was to try to go long and either think it’s transitioning to a dry tyre or just not stopping anymore. So there were two possible options that sounded quite good.”

Hamilton now goes to the United States Grand Prix six points behind Red Bull’s Verstappen, with five races to follow after this weekend’s race in Texas.

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