Despite having trouble with pace all throughout the race weekend, Lewis Hamilton managed to get to P1 in the last stages of the Turkish Grand Prix. However, with more rain looming, the team wanted to do a “safety stop” to put on fresh intermediate tyres. The Briton overruled this decision in the final laps of the race.
After the race Hamilton said he wanted to avoid a situation that happened at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix when he got stuck in the gravel while entering the pitlane.
“Well you remember I lost a world championship in the pitlane,” the Briton said.
“So, I learned my lesson from 2007, that’s for sure. And I felt like I really had it under control, and the grip was getting good and I was gonna deal with the rain if it dropped.
“There was a point, obviously that Seb was pulling away from me and I couldn’t figure out at the time what it was, so I was checking my temperatures.
“I didn’t know whether it was because my tires were overheating or they’re too cold, but they got to a bit of a drier patch.
“I think I went through the real rough phase of the graining of the tyre and then it started to come back, the grip started coming back.
“The track was drying in areas and I was improving my driving lines the whole way through the race. So then I started to pick up pace, and then Seb pitted and for me I knew that that wasn’t the right choice, personally.
“I just started to stay out and as the tyres got more and more slick, that’s exactly what you needed. Fortunately that intermediate tyre, it holds temperature.
“If I went out on new slicks, I wouldn’t have made it round but it was the best decision,” concluded the seven-time champion.
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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton’s tenacity showed he was still “hungry as a lion”, despite winning seven world titles.
“It shows how he’s capable of coping with the situation that went against him at the beginning,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
“He was the only one who kept it on the road, that is the difference today.
“Yes, look at what has happened today, he was hungry as a lion. Driving a tyre on slicks at the end with a risk of rain, I don’t see any of the motivation dropping.”
With both championships secured Mercedes can now focus on sorting out Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff’s contracts.
“I think that we are both a factor of each other,” explained Wolff.
“There is such a big structure behind me from the team, that if I were to go they would still be winning.
“And whether that is something that I will also see as my obligation in the future, to make sure that the team is winning, then I will set the foundations for that.
“But that moment has not yet come.”