Hamilton and Wolff explain Saudi Arabian GP pit stop problem

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton’s pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car in the closing stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was prevented when Race Control closed the pit entry.

In the closing stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was ready to go in for his first and only pit stop of the race.

The perfect opportunity came when Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso both suffered a DNF. This triggered a Virtual Safety Car, which would have been a perfect opportunity for Lewis to have a ‘free pit stop’ from P6.

However, the position of the cars prompted Race Control to close the pit entry, and due to the confusion that ensued, Lewis missed his opportunity to pit while he still could.

“It was a difficult one,” Hamilton explained.

“I saw Alonso slowing down, it was double yellow flags so I didn’t push to overtake him, then Daniel was stuck in the pitlane so I didn’t know if I could go in with a car sitting there.

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“It was just not great,” the Briton concluded.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also explained what happened.

“I think on the encouraging side, staying on the hard [tyre] was positive, wouldn’t tell if it was fast, but it was positive,” the Austrian said.

“And then obviously Alonso broke down during the lap, Ricciardo broke down with the engine, we told him to come in but there was a double yellow, a car slowing down and one stationary.

“It was just a confusing situation. He drove past and slowing down because of the confusion, and that made us come out behind Magnussen.

“And then obviously it’s game over,” concluded Wolff.

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